Will Apple bite India’s manufacturing bait?

by | May 13, 2020 | Buzz of the week, Smart Devices, Technology

By moving manufacturing capacities to India from China, Apple could also align favorably with India’s ‘vocal for local’ sentiments.
Share to lead the transformation

In the wake of ongoing crisis, several global businesses are deliberating to shift their supply chain away from China in their bid to regain the lost momentum in the post Covid-19 business world. Apple is no exception either. Going by several media reports, the electronics and technology giant, plans to move almost a fifth of its production capacity from China to India. If this materializes, it could translate into sizable benefits for both Apple and India.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 8 pm address to the nation on 12 May, advocated for building a “self-reliant” India and supporting the local products by a greater measure. Local manufacturing would make Apple better aligned with those sentiments as well.

For India, this could be a chance for globally showcasing its low-cost manufacturing model and in due course becoming a strong production alternative to behemoths like China. For Apple, to bite India’s manufacturing bait could be an attractive means to leverage the country’s IT talent and also discover the subtleties of the market at a more micro level. For consumers, there could be potential benefits in the form of more budget friendly devices, including iPhones.

Growing smartphone market

Apple is cognizant of the fact that it might not see a surge in iPhone demand from European countries and the US anytime soon enough. On the contrary, the impact of Covid-19 is not expected to be that steep in India, and so it may be fruitful for Apple to build new business models to mitigate the future growth crisis. While India’s market may not have been that big as far as premium smartphones and devices are concerned, Apple has witnessed a double-digit sales growth for the last couple of years.

It is worthwhile to mention that only last year, India’s share in the global smartphone production saw a substantial leap to 16 percent from 9 percent in 2016. One of the main causes for the jump was the trade war between the US and China, due to which, many handset makers cut down output in China. The Indian government lapped up the opportunity by introducing several incentives to the movers.

Boost for Make in India 

India’s mushrooming digital economy and harmonious relations with most of the countries offer a much stable outlook to companies for speedy business revival. Apple, with more than 400 million paid subscribers across its services such as cloud, App Store, payment services such as Apple Card, can also look to replicate its success locally.

Considering the need for creating a strong manufacturing ecosystem, the government already has the production-related incentives (PLI) scheme in place to encourage local production.

Boosting local production in India, however, is not without challenges for Apple. The company has spent close to a decade to streamline supply chain across China’s coastal regions and support over 5 million jobs. Replicating similar models afresh in India would require a solid support system from the government.

Even after the launch of the much-publicized Make in India initiative six years ago, India’s manufacturing has not been able to take off in the manner expected, accounting for just about 15% of the country’s GDP. In China, on the other hand, manufacturing contributes over 40% to their GDP.

That could change if India manages to influence world’s most influential consumer electronics company to shift a significant percentage of its manufacturing here. Such a move could give a much-needed fillip to India’s manufacturing growth aspirations.


With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech

With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech

Indian IT Services major Wipro continues its acquisition run this year to strengthen its digital transformation and cloud capabilities. After acquiring 4 companies earlier this year,  Wipro has now entered into a decisive agreement to buy Encore Theme Technologies, a SaaS and Cloud solutions provider in financial services, for INR 95 crores.

Headquartered in Chennai, Encore Theme implements a broad suite of Trade Finance solutions, developed by Finastra, one of the world’s largest fintechs to bolster digital transformation support for financial institutions across the globe. The purchase will enable Wipro to further fortify its capabilities to modernize the IT and digital infrastructure of financial institutions.

Encore buy

The acquisition of Encore Theme is subject to customary closing conditions and likely to close in the quarter ending December 31, 2020, Wipro mentioned in a statement. This transaction represents Wipro’s fifth buyback this year, with an overall investment of INR 18 bn in purchases in 2020.

Businesses are taking rapid transformation routes toward next-Gen integrated cloud technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and analytics. To successfully overcome the ongoing crisis and emerge stronger in the growing virtual ecosystem, enterprises seek smarter IT environments and accelerating their digital transformation efforts.

IT services companies realize the importance of network transformation-related investments that can help meet growing clients’ needs to construct agile, integrated, and insights-based network architectures. This brings a unique opportunity for the IT Services firm to bring more value to businesses.

Along with Wipro, several other IT Services firms such as Infosys and HCL are on an acquisition spree this year, utilizing their cash reserves to fortify their digital transformation and cloud offerings. (See: Infosys buys GuideVision to boost Dx capabilities)

Supporting networks modernization

Wipro’s aggressive push toward acquisitions is also likely to lead to increased investor confidence in the future. Wipro is now having much more capacity and packaged offerings to deliver its services to enormously investing in IT infrastructure modernization.

This year, Wipro’s notable acquisitions include 4C, IVIA Serviços de Informática Ltd, and Eximus Design. (See: Wipro’s 4C buy to firm up its Europe presence)

Along with the latest Encore buy, Wipro also announced its plan to expand its strategic relationship with IBM to strengthen its Hybrid Cloud Practice. The practice is an initiative led by IBM to support global system integrators and independent software vendors to enable their clients to modernize workloads for any cloud environment.

In its Q2 results announced last month, Wipro posted a 3.2 percent sequential growth in consolidated profits and 3.7 percent QoQ growth in IT services revenue, ahead of the previous industry estimates. The results reflected strong growth across all its verticals.

At BM NXT research, we expect Wipro’s revenues to get a significant boost in the next two to three years because of its strategic investments this year and the organization’s continuous efforts to build capacities for remote working. Wipro, however, will need concrete execution efforts to gain a larger market share than its peers in the industry.

How artificial intelligence is transforming Indian retail sector

How artificial intelligence is transforming Indian retail sector

As the pandemic raged on, enterprises of all scales rushed to accelerate their digital transformation efforts for maintaining business continuity. The retail sector also didn’t escape unscathed and had to take a flurry of measures to remain operational amidst rising discretionary spending by consumers. (See: AI-driven analytics is CIOs’ mantra in the new normal)

The crisis has pushed the retail organizations to take pivotal digital decisions instantly to achieve tangible business results.

One of the technologies that has garnered much attention in these tricky times is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The technology enables organizations to make well-informed data-driven decisions and predict the possible outcome of those decisions.

Translating new normal into a winning position

There is a monumental shift in consumer buying behavior due to COVID-19. Even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are moving to e-commerce platforms. The pre-COVID online buyers have accelerated their digital shopping by around 50%. Moreover, even a majority of conventional shoppers have moved to virtual shopping to ensure safety and hygiene.

Amidst the unpredictable customer expectations and increased demand for contactless distributions, the Indian retail enterprises are fast-tracking their investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence to translate the new normal into a winning position. With AI-enabled tools and customer-centric chatbots, retail enterprises can obtain valuable insights to predict new business opportunities, identify broken supply chains, and manage customer expectations better. (See: AI is a must now to speed up digital transformation)

According to a Nasscom study, the Indian retail industry is one of the top-five retail markets in the world by economic value and likely to achieve 3X growth and become worth US $1.4 trillion by 2024. NASSCOM further observed that the industry is experiencing a phenomenal transformation due to transitioning consumer behavior, organized retail growth, and multiple global players’ arrival.

Similar sentiments are shared by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), an apex trade association of India, in a recent report. The industry body observed that the Indian retail industry is likely to see a massive transformation technology-led disruptions driven by AI and data-led opportunities.

Besides improved customer experience, the investments in AI-enabled platforms will also be valuable for retailers as it will enable them to deliver new product design ideas and expand their markets.

Leveraging AI to read consumer’s mind

With consumers are moving to digital technologies to shop, they still need the personalized experience to meet their custom needs. AI-enabled tools and technologies are being leveraged by organizations to identify key business and customer trends; ensure hygiene; deliver the goods safely, and conduct 1:1 session with customers.

AI tools also have a great potential to give the decision-makers timely visibility to align their strategic and financial primacies with these predictions.

Some prominent Indian retailers are already forging ahead and deploying the latest tools and AI innovations to navigate the crisis. An example is the Aditya Birla Group, which manages one of the largest Indian clothing retail chains. The group implemented several AI and deep learning solutions amidst the pandemic to keep its workforce safe and ensure hygiene factors at its manufacturing units. The group has a separate data and analytics cell, which focuses on advanced technologies to deliver better efficiency in-house as for customer service excellence.

During the nationwide lockdown, the group refreshed its already proven proprietary AI platform, VEDA (Video Enabled Decision and Alerts), with advanced capabilities to meet the manufacturing units’ needs and offices post COVID. The scalable platform enables Aditya Birla Group to deploy multiple video feeds and apply advanced analytics in real-time to develop meaningful interpretations, notifications, and alerts.

Similarly, online retail players such as Amazon, Big Basket, and Grofers have enhanced their AI-powered chatbots, who act as online experts and provide instant resolution to various transactional and routine queries raised by different consumers. For complicated and specific requests, the question can be re-routed to customer care. This entire approach not only automates the process but also help companies reduce their operational expenses.

Another critical area where analytics can be a crucial enabler is inventory management. By looking at the vast sets of shopper data, retailers can oversee purchase orders, ensure they have enough stock of a particular product, and keep their inventory model agile as per the market demand scenario.

Nevertheless, to climb the AI-maturity ladder, enterprises would need to set-up a conducive framework and need strong collaboration models with subject matter experts to address the evolved customer requirements. (See: Enterprises jump on the AI bandwagon but seat belts are few)

Bharti Airtel gears up for digital transformation opportunities

Bharti Airtel gears up for digital transformation opportunities

Indian Telecom major Bharti Airtel has rolled out a new enterprise cloud communication platform, Airtel IQ, to help businesses scale their digital transformation efforts.

Airtel IQ has been launched by the company to leverage the cloud opportunity driven by the sudden upsurge in India’s work-from-home environment. Bharti Airtel currently serves over 2500 large businesses and over 500,000 small and medium enterprises across India through its Airtel Business division. The telco says that Airtel IQ can help organizations integrate their communication across business practices — marketing, sales, customer service, and operations.

The Airtel IQ solution has been fully developed by Airtel’s in-house engineering teams and natively integrated into the Telco-grade infrastructure. According to Airtel, it has already signed up companies such as Swiggy, Justdial, Urban Company, Havells, Dr. Lal Path Labs, and Rapido as customers for Airtel IQ during the beta phase itself.

In the post-COVID-19 environment, enterprises are putting greater stress on business model improvisation and infrastructure modernization. And as such, Indian telecom providers like Airtel see a huge opportunity to diversify its offerings along with the connectivity solutions for a better growth. (See: Airtel launches Work@Home for business continuity)

Airtel’s internal estimates project the Indian cloud market size at around US $ 1 billion and growing at 20% y-o-y. With this new Airtel IQ solution, the company aims to capture a sizable share in this opportunity. 

Tapping enterprise opportunity for growth revival

The ongoing crisis has resulted in colossal growth of remote working and dispersed workforce ecosystem. This unexpected change has ensued in a swift acceleration in the digital transformation plans of several organizations. Enterprises are rapidly shifting gears to advance their digital transformation efforts and fortify virtual presence for business resiliency. (See: AI-driven analytics is CIOs’ mantra in the new normal)

Bharti Airtel, who has been facing tough competition from Jio in the race to become the country’s leading mobile operator, has unique strengths and setting to address the growing demand for digital transformation solutions. Its newly appointed Enterprise Business CEO, Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, a former Dell executive, has earmarked firm growth plans for the company’s B2B division growth.

Airtel has been making rapid strides in its enterprise business growth, which is currently growing at a rate of 9.2% year-on-year.

For the last 24 months, besides enterprise connectivity, the company is making robust efforts to develop cybersecurity competencies, machine to machine (m2M), data centers and cloud, and unified communications.

The public, private, and hybrid cloud offerings are a growing focus area for Airtel’s enterprise arm. Also, it is offering security as a service.

Airtel’s digital transformation efforts don’t just restrict to the cloud. It even plans to have a more substantial presence in the cybersecurity solutions market, which has been growing due to the rapid digitization and increased mature online attacks.

Early this year, it is setting up a suite of cybersecurity solutions for enterprise customers to protect data and data from online attacks. It has invested about ₹100 crores in building an Airtel security intelligence center in Delhi NCR that boasts access to advanced technology and artificial intelligence tools.

Partner-led approach to ensure digital transformation readiness

One of the biggest realizations that Indian companies have lately identified is that to endure the most challenging battles, they need to partner with several partners to diversify well and succeed. Airtel, too, has been pursuing this strategy. (See: Tech Cos take M&A route for digital transformation supremacy)

Airtel already owns a cloud platform and recently entered into a strategic union with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch more enterprise customers’ cloud services. Another noteworthy alliance that it announced recently was with Radware, a cybersecurity and application delivery solutions. Under the partnership, Airtel will offer Radware’s cloud security services to enterprise customers. Airtel has also collaborated with Cisco, a networking giant, to offer monitoring, analysis, and investigation of malicious code services to its customers.(See:
Airtel beefs up cybersecurity portfolio, eyes new business)

According to the consultancy firm Deloitte, India’s IoT market size has been projected to reach about $9 billion by 2020. This is a massive opportunity for India’s leading connectivity provider Airtel, who is also prepping up for the forthcoming 5G ecosystem.

Bharti Airtel has been extensively developing consortium and partnerships in the internet of things (IoT) and surveillance space to build future-ready applications. It is developing a narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network in India and has already identified the sites for the same.


Jio eyes more digital edge with JioPages web browser

Jio eyes more digital edge with JioPages web browser

In a strategic move to expand its digital presence, Jio Platforms, the telecoms and digital arm of the Indian multinational Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has revamped its Jio web browser and given it a new identity called JioPages. The company says that the newly incarnated JioPages web browser has been designed and developed entirely in India.

Jio’s ‘Made In India’ JioPages web browser has been part of Jio’s aggressive push to transform itself into a digital services behemoth by tapping into India’s growing internet marketplace.

JioPages be downloaded from the Google play store and equipped with features such as eight Indian language support, customized news content creation, faster media streaming, incognito browsing, encrypted connection, among others.

Jio’s new web browser also supports India’s regional language content and provide access to display information cards. A user can find immediate info on topics such as stock market trends, commodity prices, and cricket score through these cards.

The Blink browser engine has powered JioPages web browser. This Blink technology was developed as part of the Chromium project in 2013, supported by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Opera Software, Adobe Systems, Intel, IBM, Samsung, among other tech giants. 

JioPages could change the Indian digital dynamics

Jio’s new web browser JioPages, can be a game-changing move for the company. One needs to be cognizant that the company had earlier launched its browser in 2019 with limited success. Many users had complained about its tedious interface and the browser’s letdown to support various internet sites effortlessly.

However, with a massive surge of investments from Facebook, Google, Qualcomm, and Intel, the Jio Platforms is in a better shape to fortify its digital offerings.

On its face, the JioPages web – browser appears fast, well designed, and capable of delivering a secure web browsing experience. The new network-browser will enable Jio Platforms to offer easy access to its dozen mobile applications spanning different e-service categories such as Jio Mart.

With 5G technology set to make its foray soon, JioPages, depending upon its success, can shake-up the digital apps market. Jio might collaborate with many Indian digital companies to give them a quick launchpad through integrated links and preferential custom widgets.

A tectonic shift in Jio’s strategy

Jio, which started as India’s only telecom operator, swiftly changed gears in recent times with an eagle’s eye on becoming India’s exclusive digital powerhouse.

Today, when most of the companies struggle to exist amidst the pandemic, Jio Platforms’ enterprise value has been approximated to be over US $70 billion, crossing the 400-million subscriber milestone.

Amidst the global downturn and massive increase in internet consumption due to the pandemic-enforced work-from-home environment, the recent investments have given Jio a strategic leapfrog. (See: The Jio ecosystem has begun to unfold, and Jio driving digital shifts in the economy)

Moreover, the growing outburst against China-based companies and the local government’s increased push toward self-reliant India is expected to give a great head-start to several of Jio’s upcoming initiatives. (See: Paytm Mini App Store: A threat to Google’s dominance?)

The Mukesh Ambani-owned company is preparing extensively to leverage forthcoming 5G technology for innovations across all verticals.

Jio Platform is working with several global tech players to develop exciting future internet of things (IoT) based solutions such as connected cars, drones, and smart-homes.

AI-driven analytics is CIOs’ mantra in the new normal

AI-driven analytics is CIOs’ mantra in the new normal

Early this year, many enterprises witnessed an unprecedented disruption to their business operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Suresh A Shan

“By leveraging insights from business intelligence tools, we are able to forecast business demand, investment opportunities, client requirements, and even keep a tab on the stress levels of the distributed workforce.”

Dr. Suresh A Shan, Head, Innovation, and Future Technologies BITS, MMFSL

Sunit Vakharia, U GRO Capital

“Through AI-driven models, we assess our customers’ business requirements and offer the best product for their long-term growth. We have incorporated machine learning and analytics capabilities in our assessment solutions to drive exceptional customer experience.”

Sunit Vakharia, Chief Technology Officer, U GRO Capital

Greesh Jairath, ITC Infotech

“Organizations have witnessed the tremendous value of data and analytics during the ongoing crisis and leveraged them to generate more profound business and operational insights for better and faster decision-making.”

Greesh Jairath, Global IT Head, ITC Infotech

It was soon evident that embracing digital technologies and using AI-driven analytics was the only way to remain buoyant and navigate the disruptions. Several companies worldwide have already transitioned to the work-from-home concept and have adapted to the modern distributed work ecosystem (See: How is digital transformation shaping the new future?).

For CIOs, realigning priorities and accelerating enterprise innovations continue to be a roller-coaster experience amidst these unprecedented times. More and more enterprises are now leaning on data science and analytics to optimize business performance and drive growth.

With virtual communication taking the center stage, there is a growing emphasis on implementing AI-based workforce analytics and business intelligence solutions to fast-track digital transformation and generate deeper operational insights to respond faster and steer the volatile economic landscape.

Need for enterprises to deploy data-driven culture

In a chaos like like, businesses continuously need to embed intelligence in their culture and rethink their business models to compete well while keeping their stakeholders happy and shine.

“Data and business analytics experience a transformational value not merely during the pandemic, but also post the crisis. The analysis it provides can help businesses induce a culture of innovation and developing service offerings quickly. For systems that are affected by the COVID-19 crisis, analytics led insights are becoming a phenomenal game-changer. By leveraging insights from intelligence tools, we can forecast business demand, investment opportunities, and even monitor the stress levels of our distributed workforce,” says Dr. Suresh A Shan, Head, Innovation, and Future Technologies Business Information Technology Solutions (BITS), Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MMFSL).

Across all sectors, retail, banking, e-commerce, and IT/ICT companies are the most aggressive to deploy AI-driven analytics solutions for real-time problem-solving. Retailers get concrete insights to produce their specific supply chain pipelines to fill the consumer need.  For e-commerce companies, armed with powerful data and insights, business analytics solutions can help examine the product pricing of different competitions and target segments that need to be focused on specific products.

“At U GRO Capital, we’ve utilized the current situation as an opportunity to scale our business digitally. U GRO Capital provides loans to small and medium-sized companies. We extensively focus on technology and analytics as enablers to onboard our customers and disburse money as and when required by them. Through AI-driven models, we assess our customers’ business requirements and offer the best product for their long-term growth. We have incorporated machine learning and analytics capabilities in our assessment solutions to drive exceptional customer experience,” says Sunit Vakharia, Chief Technology Officer, U GRO Capital (See: Sunit Vakharia, Chief Technology Officer, U GRO Capital).

Such a massive shift will also intensify the demand for data science and analytics specialists, who can comprehend complex values’ quality insights and drive resiliency and transformation-led investments.

“Analytics led solutions have been a critical enabler of redefining and realigning business processes.  Organizations have witnessed the tremendous value of data and analytics during the ongoing crisis and leveraged them to generate more profound business and operational insights for better and faster decision-making. In the future, successful deployment of analytics led solutions will also pave the way for futuristic technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and drone delivery systems,” says Greesh Jairath, Global IT Head, ITC Infotech.

Tech-majors gearing up for the analytics market

During the pandemic, analytics has been one of the few areas which recorded a higher growth rate. AI-driven analytics and insights have been used consistently by organizations to provide deep visibility around existing resource capacity, monitor any insufficiency, and help businesses regularly conduct impact and risk analysis. (See: CIOs to focus on network transformation for business continuity)

From effectively implementing processes such as employee onboarding and offboarding remotely, building market-relevant solutions, and fitting network efficiency in diverse locations, analytics-based solutions can provide greater visibility to the decision-makers.

Technology biggies are looking to leverage the rising enterprise interest in analytics and business intelligence solutions by launching new products or expanding their capabilities to identify fresh opportunities. Some of the top players dominating the analytics market include SAP, Oracle, Accenture, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Infosys, and TCS (See: Accenture fortifies AI know-how with Byte Prophecy buy).

Recently, Tata Consultancy Services launched the TCS Workforce Analytics, an AI-focused engagement intelligence solution for companies looking at enhancing their employees’ productivity and workforce experience.  Another Indian IT Services giant, Infosys, has acquired US-based data analytics company Blue Acorn for $125 million to beef up its analytics portfolio.

IBM as well introduced a new risk-based service designed to help enterprises identify new risk-based exposure from areas such as cloud, M&A, and remote work. Other players are also strengthening their capabilities to meet the growing demand for analytics led services.

Micromax’s comeback efforts are too little, too late

Micromax’s comeback efforts are too little, too late

One of the most celebrated smartphone manufacturers in the Indian telecom market’s history, Micromax, has announced its plans to make a comeback with a new range of “In” (India) series smartphones.

Micromax said that it has been preparing extensively for the new range launch, focusing on the budget and mid-range section. However, a first glance at the announcement has made it clear that India’s homegrown smartphone maker hasn’t learned anything from its slip-ups in the past.

In a two-minute emotional advertising promo unveiled on Twitter recently, Micromax’s co-founder Rahul Sharma exhibits emotions full of bizarre and formula-based clichés, largely revolved around Micromax’s humble beginnings and anti-China sentiments. Sharma further attempts to cash in the sentiments stirred by increasing sanctions of China-based companies and the Indian government’s ‘Self-reliant-India’ campaign. The announcement seems to be woven with typecasts to connect with the aspiring and young middle class.

The most disappointing aspect was that the company did not share any new corporate vision or active strategy that would help Micromax smartphones deliver the punch in a new incarnation.

“I wasn’t conquered then, but I was rather satisfied with everything that I had accomplished. But what happened at the border (India-China) wasn’t right. And when our Prime Minister gave the clarion call for an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India), we gave much thought to it. Hence, Micromax India is coming back with a new smartphone called ‘In,’ said Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma in a Twitter video.

Several media outlets have reported that the Micromax plans for a comeback by beefing up its manufacturing capability and planning to invest around Rs. 500 crores for expansion, which is not a very substantial amount given the Indian market dynamics.

Why Micromax failed its winning ground?

Incorporated in the year 2000, Micromax started selling mobile phones in 2008. Since its inception, the company has focused on affordably delivering feature-rich phones to Indian buyers.

In its first run, Micromax created a strong impact because Indian mobile consumers were relatively new to mobile phones’ high-end features. Most of the global players were selling smartphones at an exorbitant price for the Indian middle class. By outsourcing the entire production process to China, Micromax had managed to launch several exciting devices at a price-point that was unheard of in India. 

Looking back in history, Micromax’s marketing strategy and an extensive focus on budget buyers helped it become one of India’s most significant domestic handset companies by 2010. Its feature phones and Canvas series had become a household name during that era.

In 2014, Micromax even outclassed global smartphone leader Samsung in India’s total smartphone shipments, becoming one of the world’s top 10 smartphone vendors.

Micromax also roped in leading Hollywood celebrity Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador, becoming the first Indian smartphone company to get an international celebrity on-board for domestic brand promotions.

In the later years of this decade, the company, however, started losing market share because of its inability to compete with China-based handset manufacturers such as Vivo, Xiaomi, and Oppo. Also, Samsung beefed up its device portfolio and started catering to the budget market with aggressive sub 10k smartphone launches.

Another factor that made a steep dent in Micromax’s share was its poor distribution and service center network. It did not pay enough attention to develop its channel partners and distributors across the country. Micromax’s brand value suffered a massive blow as many of its devices were labeled as substandard by consumers, with limited after-sales support.

Many of Micromax loyal consumers started complaining about the marathon time company’s service centers would take to repair smartphones and the absence of replacement parts of Micromax devices.

The final nail in the coffin was the launch of 4G technology in India. Micromax failed to predict the transition and could not launch 4G based smartphones range promptly.

Slowly, the brand that showed much potential and once flaunted as India’s answer to global biggies such as Nokia and Samsung faded away from smartphone buyers’ memory.

Micromax comeback, a difficult road ahead

Despite growing sentiments against China-based products and services, it won’t be an easy task for Micromax to make a comeback with its launch of new “In” (India) series smartphones. Micromax needs to realize that the times have changed, and it can not survive or make any progress by solely focusing on old marketing gimmicks.

Today, the company has less than 1 percent market share in the Indian smartphone market and way behind the established players such as Samsung. Global players such as Blackberry, Apple, and Nokia are also firming up their plans for expansion in India. (See: Will Apple bite India’s manufacturing bait?)

In such a scenario, Micromax needs to make substantial efforts to improve its brand image and invest aggressively to strengthen its offline network.

Given the experience, Micromax can still give a tough fight in the lower end smartphone segment. However, to compete in the mid to higher range market, Micromax should be ready for deep-dive boardroom discussions and significant investments. It cannot stay afloat in the world’s most competitive telecom market by just making a patriotic marketing appeal. The company had also launched thirteen smartphones in 2019, most of which miserably failed and could not endure the competition.

With 5G technology launch at the threshold, Micromax would need to focus extensively on improving its research and development efforts and bring budget-friendly 5G devices into the Indian telecom ecosystem. It can also look at partnership models with Jio or other carriers to launch affordable mobile devices for the first time smartphone users.

The yesteryear’s most beloved smartphone brand will need a massive overhaul and performance packed strategy to prove its mettle and recreate the magic. At this moment, it lacks the necessary ammunition in the arsenal to beat the odds.  



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