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Motorola has seen highest sales in its history from Moto G, says Magnus Ahlqvist, Motorola VP

Thursday, 27 March 2014 - 8:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Magnus Ahlqvist, corporate vice president, EMEA & APAC, Motorola, who joined the company in August last year, tells Beryl Menezes about how Motorola aims to take its highly successful only-online India strategy to other markets as well as what's in store post its $3 billion acquisition by Lenovo.

Q) What is the differentiation strategy that Motorola is employing, given that its return to India comes at a time when competition between smartphone giants Samsung, Nokia and Apple is intense?

With our comeback, we have been able to address the key need of the Indian consumer, which is premium experience at an affordable price point so for example Moto G offered a similar experience as rival smartphone players, at half the price.

Q) Moto G saw overnight success in India. What do you attribute this to?

We realised Indian consumers are extremely well informed when it comes to their purchasing decisions, and Moto G's main success came because of the value-for-money proposition.
Secondly, our decision to go to market with an only-online presence, via a single exclusive partner in Flipkart enabled us to reach a big part of India very quickly, and offer good service at a competitive price. The third thing we did to ensure long term commitment to India, was to set up 100 walk in service centres in the months leading to our India launch – which is now 130 service centres – to take care of the consumer throughout the product life cycle.

Q) How will things change after Lenovo's acquisition?

While it is business as usual till the acquisition is complete, Lenovo bought Motorola because of its strong hardware, software, brand name and product capabilities and people. If we look at the synergy between Lenovo and Motorola, while Lenovo is a very global company which has been able to win in one of the most competitive industry – the PC industry, and gain great momentum in the smartphone space, our software engineering expertise and value proposition makes it a great combination for success going forward.

Q) What role does customer feedback play in influencing Motorola's strategy?

Customer feedback is also key to our improvement, and success, and thus only seven weeks after we launched Moto G, there were around 9,800 reviews on Flipkart alone. Globally, too, we have been receiving very positive reviews on Amazon from our customers across APAC, EMEA and the US. So while we are in India for the long term, and have tasted tremendous initial success – not only from erstwhile Motorola fans from India, but from rival's customers as well, we are humble in saying we have a lot of work to do and a long way to go.

Q) How many handsets have you sold in India so far of Moto G and Moto X?

While we cannot comment on actual figures, it is safe to say the sales of Moto G have far exceeded Motorola's, as well as Flipkart's wildest expectations. In fact, Moto G has seen the largest sales ever in the history of Motorola, showing that our only-online strategy has worked. Moto X has also been very well received.

Q) How important is India as a market for Motorola and what are the plans post Moto X?

India is one of the most important markets for us, not only because of its sheer size and value proposition, but it is also the only market in the world where we decided to launch only via
e-commerce and with just one partner – making it very significant in terms of internal visibility, and this has inspired us to use this strategy in other markets as well. Due to this success, we have decided o continue the exclusive online relationship with Flipkart for another two phases, even as our intention is to bring our entire product portfolio to India. Besides the Motorola brand in India is amongst the strongest in the world.

Q) Any plans to strengthen your R&D capabilities?

While we have hundreds of highly qualified software engineers in India manning our R&D centre, which is one of our greatest strengths, we are looking for more strong talent to build up our presence in the next 6-12 months here, as part of our commitment to India.

Q) What about plans to tie up with other e-commerce players or go the traditional offline route?

While we will continue our relationship with Flipkart for the next two quarters, we are investing a lot in our own service network and are on the lookout for other partners, including tie-ups with telcos in the next 6-18 months.

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