After giving India its first cloud phone last October, Huawei, Chinese mobile handset maker, is planning a flurry of smartphone and tablet launches in the next couple of months, taking the competition right to the ultrabook market. P Sanjeev, sales director, Huawei India, spoke to Beryl Menezes about the company’s plans and the industry in general. Excerpts from the interview:
What is Huawei’s overall share in the smart phone and tablets market in India?
Last year, we sold 500,000 smart phones in India. This year, we are targeting sales of 800,000 by December. Huawei also sold 85,000 tablets in India in the third quarter. We now occupy a 30% share of the $18 million smartphone market in the country.
What are the new smartphones and tablets which Huawei is launching in India?
We recently launched the Huawei MediaPad 7Lite tablet priced at Rs13,700 and are expecting to sell 20,000 of these devices in India within the next three months. We will also be launching the Huawei Ascend P1 and Huawei’s MediaPad 10 FHD quad-core tablet next month, in time for Christmas. We are also planning a global Windows phone launch within the next two months.
What’s the profile of an Indian buyer?
We target the 19-35 age group, who usually look for a combination of a good processor, long-life battery, superior screen quality and connectivity to multiple modes, besides the regular features. All this in a package for sub-Rs10,000. This is difficult, but Huawei is hoping to crack that market.
What’s the size of India’s tablet market and how fast is it growing compared with PCs?
The PC market is stagnant with sales of around half-a-million units per month. The tablet market in comparison is growing at least 40% quarter on quarter.
Is India’s low PC penetration a huge upside for tablet and smartphones potentially if you get the pricing right?
Yes. Tablet and smartphones are seen to push internet penetration, with more people today accessing the internet on mobiles. The dongle phase, too, is decreasing in the developed market, and in India the smartphone explosion will also lead to a decline in dongle growth, say in the next three years. Almost 70% of India’s mobile broadband devices are Huawei’s. Huawei is also competing with ultrabooks with its MediaPads.
Which form factor will all these mobile devices converge into – a 7 or 8 inch tab or a 4-5 inch smartphone, as people’s all-in-one device?
While 10-inch tablets make up 30% of the tablet market, about 70% of the tablet market is controlled by 7-inch tablets. However, smartphones and tablets could be a co-existing form factor, since people have different preferences. Besides, smartphones are growing more in the sub-Rs10,000 category, while tablets are growing even in the over Rs10,000 category.