07 Aug

How the mobile app market in India is set to grow rapidly

The mobile app market in India is rapidly expanding, at a time when the number of smartphone users in India will grow to 382 million by 2016 and the mobile games and applications market in India is expected to be a Rs. 2,700-crore market by 2016. The growing market for smartphones can be attributed to the growth in the number of brands that have come out with their own range of Android OS-enabled mobile phones. In addition, the global popularity of mobile gaming and mobile apps has contributed to building this burgeoning potential market.

Mobile trends have indicated that the smartphone craze won’t die down anytime soon; in fact, it is only increasing day by day as brands come out with much more cost-efficient models rich with lots of features. The reasons for the popularity of smartphones are many. A smartphone is like a personal assistant that you can carry with you wherever you go; an entertainment device, a portable case containing your memories in the form of photos and videos.

Mobile app trends in India lean heavily towards the entertainment category; this includes Bollywood, cricket, mobile games, music apps, instant messaging apps and social media apps. The Google Play store sees a plethora of mobile apps both in the free apps as well as the paid apps category, with some mobile users even opting for in-game or in-app purchases. A look at recent mobile trends would indicate that smartphones are no longer popular only in the metros; in fact, tier-2 and tier-3 cities are a huge market for smartphones that are feature-heavy yet affordable.

In addition, the demographics of the Indian app market is overwhelmingly young Indians in the age group of 18-35. These are consumers who are dynamic, aware, and more likely to switch between brands that are more tech-savvy and affordable for their budgets. This is because it is evident that today, in order to own a smartphone, one does not need to have deep pockets. Technology has come a long way, where the mobile market is extremely competitive. With multiple players coming up with their own innovations for mobile phones, one can get superior quality and excellent features within a reasonable price bracket. This further fuels the mobile app market in India as so many new users keep getting added nearly on a daily basis.

Finally, the most important feature that draws users to a particular smartphone model is its technical capability to run multiple mobile apps and mobile games. Strong tech specs and a superior battery life sound like basic features, but combine these with a great price range and you have a smartphone that is guaranteed to be a hit.

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05 Aug

In conversation with Zheng Min, CEO, PHICOMM

PHICOMM CEO Zheng Min recently met with the Financial Express to talk about the company and its vision for India. He emphasised on building a local ecosystem – from a dedicated research and development unit to manufacturing facilities to data centres.

The interaction has been reproduced below.

Good companies never start late

With India being the second largest mobile phone market globally, a number of players have entered the country to launch their products. In the process, it has become one crowded and tough market to operate in. Phicomm is the latest Chinese brand to foray into the Indian market.

“India is one of the most important markets for Phicomm and we are planning to set up our own R&D unit, manufacturing facility and data centre here—thereby building a local ecosystem,” says Zheng Min, CEO of Phicomm.

He joined Phicomm in 2013 as the CEO and is responsible for growing the product R&D, increasing business units and rapidly expanding the global sales.

“Specific to India, our main aim is to make smartphones accessible to all mobile users and provide them access to everything that the mobile Internet has to offer,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction.

Excerpts:

The Indian smartphone market is crowded with many players. Do you think you have arrived late in the market?

Actually good companies never start late. Let me tell you something about our company. Phicomm has a unique ecosystem and we have our in-house R&D, in-house manufacturing, in-house design and our own data centre that gives us an advantage over any competition. We started our journey in 2009, and in only 6 years we have achieved an average annual growth rate of over 200%. We have 5 business units—Mobile, SOHO, ENT, ICT and Cloud. And we do everything—from research and design to manufacturing. What makes us unique is that we create a strategic ecosystem which can cater to the needs of each market.

India is one of the most important markets for Phicomm and we are planning to set up our own R&D unit, manufacturing unit and data centre here—thereby building a local ecosystem. By doing this, we intend to bring to you a more user-friendly, comfortable, and cost-effective smartphone. Close to 55% of our employees work in R&D and technical support.

We already have our domestic R&D bases in Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing and Shenzhen and overseas, we are present in Munich and San Francisco. India will be our next target. Our vision is to build Phicomm into a superior equipment and service provider in the information and communications sector. Our main aim is to make smartphones accessible to all mobile users and providing them access to everything that the mobile Internet has to offer.

What is your go-to-market strategy for the India market?

We have a huge investment planned for the Indian market. For the next three years, we have plans to invest $100 million to cover the Indian market activities including building the local team, local branding, marketing and local R&D. In a bid to strengthen our presence in India, Phicomm has introduced around 107 service centres across more than 100 cities in India after making impressive sales for Phicomm Passion 660 smartphone in the first two weeks.

What kind of market share are you looking at by the end of 2015?

We are looking at 5% market share in India in the next five years. Today in China actually we have a combination of different products including the mobile and the SOHO — home devices. In SOHO, we stand in number 2 or 3 in China.

Why online? Why not open a new retail store?

First step is online, next step we are considering are offline channels. Our consumers are mostly young people who are very e-commerce friendly and mainly we are targeting the young generation for our Passion 660 smartphone. These young people are excited about e-commerce activities so it could be the right way to push the online customer. It should around 6 to 7 months for us to get into offline from online medium.

What was the last year revenue? How are you looking at India’s revenue within 5 years?

Phicomm had more than $1.5 billion revenue globally last year. In India, we are looking at a figure of $1 billion in the next five years. And because our channel for sale is mainly online, we are focusing on all marketing efforts online itself. When we decide to go offline, we may also think about celebrity associations.

Government is aggressively trying to promote local manufacturing in India. Any plans to set up a local assembly unit in the near term?

We want to set up a local ecosystem in India. We want to build our local R&D team, manufacturing team and marketing and sales team. India has developed a lot so either we set up a manufacturing unit on our own here or we take help from local partners.

Are you in talks with any manufacturing partner right now?

We are in talks with some local partners but we are yet to decide if we want to go ahead with manufacturing with the help of a local partner or do it completely in-house. It is early stages so it depends on the supply chain maturity and if we can find the right partner. But it will happen sooner than later. We could begin with semi knocked down (SKD) or completely knocked down (CKD) as a first step and go on to testing, packaging and assembling, basically move forward step by step. We may also cater to other markets such as Africa through the manufacturing unit in India.

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04 Aug

6 Ways that Business Executives Use Smartphones to Excel at Work

Today’s fast-paced work environment requires every aspiring executive to understand what motivates them, and stay on top of everything they need to know for performing excellently at work. Productivity is key, and this is where technology can truly build your focus, help you stay organized and ensure you’re always well-informed. Here are 7 ways that business executives can use mobile technology to accelerate productivity and excel at their careers:

  1. Stay updated with tasks: Your smartphone is like your very own personal assistant; stay one step ahead always by using the right tools and apps to remember, record and execute all your important tasks. You’ll never forget another deadline again, with smart reminders that will prompt you whenever you have a pending item on your to-do list.
  2. Work even on the go: Successful business executives are always connected and always know how their business performs, no matter where they are. The right type of smartphone will enable you to work on presentations, spreadsheets and email seamlessly whenever the need arises.
  3. Drive business decisions: Increasingly, business executives use mobile to quickly research and share ideas and tools that could influence crucial business decisions. Mobile apps can also help executives collaborate with others on the team and brainstorm over ideas that can help them strategize more effectively. The ever-changing and dynamic business environment requires a medium that is immediate, and mobile fills this gap.
  4. Always be informed: Mobile is your connection to the world, through its instant updates, and apps that aggregate all the information you would find useful. Never miss an important launch, or news about your competitors, and send files instantly to clients and in addition build an organization that is much more aware.
  5. Organize your workflow: Collaboration is key in the modern workplace where every team member may not be in the same geographical location. Mobile technology can help organize your entire workflow, right from communicating with the team, checking on work that needs to be completed, and file storage to tracking expenses, keeping track of schedules and setting up important conference or video calls.
  6. Communicate better: Mobile technology enables companies to have constant connectivity with employees, stakeholders, vendors and clients. Employees can use mobile apps to connect across teams with others working on the same project, and clients can seamlessly communicate whenever the need arises, through web based communication services.

Mobile is a powerful tool for business executives who are passionate about what they do. Its multi-functional capabilities and instant communication helps business grow and succeed in achieving its target goals.

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03 Aug

Everyone has a passion they live for: What’s yours?

What drives you to live life to the fullest? Everybody has a passion for something they enjoy doing. It’s what drives you to push harder each day, to work towards creating something amazing. Today, technology has caught up with us so much that it can actually help you transform and go down that path that lets you follow your passion in life.

Out of 6.8 billion people on this planet, 5.1 billion own a mobile phone. Mobile technology has played a useful role in giving people the bandwidth to explore their passions. A talented and aspiring graphic artist can now build creative displays of his/her work with the potential to reach millions, through mobile video editing apps and video sharing apps. A beauty blogger can use a virtual makeup testing app on their mobile phones to drive her purchase decisions.

There are also those who would like to give back to society and help drive change by working towards a social cause. In the mobile age it is possible to connect with others across the globe and be united in their efforts towards relief work or donation drives. A budding entrepreneur can begin and run his/her business entirely on a smartphone today, with mobile making desktops nearly redundant.

There are so many ways in which technology can enrich your life, if you know where to start. Whether you’re a photographer, an artist, a gamer or a writer, augmenting your ideas and experiences with mobile tech will open up opportunities to showcase, share and create better. The right kind of mobile device will fit perfectly into your life and enhance your understanding of the world around you.

Mobile is an enabler that makes the process of discovering and following through on your passions and motivations in life. It’s as simple as helping you locate that offbeat spot for your next adventure road trip, or helping you promote your creative work instantly, to millions of potential viewers. Mobile opens up endless possibilities that were earlier unimaginable. If you’re determined to find your passion in life, mobile technology takes you one step closer to your goal.

Your mobile device is like an extension of yourself and your lifestyle. Find yourself again by spending time on what you love doing.

Know your passion!

 

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