China’s FORME Mobiles is targeting a 10 per cent market share in the next one year as it looks at a larger play in the smartphone segment in India.

Its current market share in India is under 5 per cent.

While the smartphone segment in the country is already over-crowded with a number of players – that include Indian, Chinese, Korean, Finnish and Taiwanese ones – FORME will target the “second handset” phenomenon prevalent in most cities and Tier-II towns. It will also focus on the entry level / budget segment devices (smarthpones) in Tier-III, Tier-IV and rural areas. Smartphones will be priced between ₹2,000 and ₹4,600.

According to Elva Du, GM — Business Operations, FORME Mobiles India, it is not just smartphones that the brand will focus on. It also has a presence through feature phones. Apart from offline presence, FORME’s internet-enabled feature phones are sold online through Flipkart and Amazon.

“We witnessed a rise in demand for our internet-enabled feature phones, especially from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. We will also offer an extensive portfolio of smartphones in the affordable segment,” Elva told BusinessLine.

The company has an assembling unit in Gurgaon and sells close to 4-5 lakh units a month. It is also planning to double production in India.

Forme is expecting a turnover of ₹100 crore from India in FY18 – a near 20 per cent rise over its FY17 revenues.

Scope at the bottom

In India, people continue to use more than one SIM card and multiple mobiles. Hence, there is a tendency to buy lower priced devices as a back-up one or as a second phone. There are also a large number of people who buy their first smartphones by replacing a basic handset. They are more concerned about price rather than the brand.

Despite the average smartphone selling price in India being around ₹10,000–12,000, there is space at the bottom (sub-₹10,000) for “quality devices”.

In fact, according to Gartner, smartphone shipments declined in Q4 of 2017 because of a slow-down in upgrades from feature phones to smartphones. Lack of quality in “ultra-low-cost” devices and users preferring to buy quality feature phones were two prime reasons. And this is exactly what FORME will look to address, Elva says.

Marketing muscle

According to her, the brand is not shy of flexing its marketing muscle. It may now spend ₹1 crore a year, but Elva says the budget can increase “multiple times”.

Apart from ramping up its channels in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, it is also targeting Bihar, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

It will also look to compliment its portfolio of devices with offerings in accessories. Power banks will be an obvious choice.

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