Smartphone maker looking to acquire software firm

Home-grown mobile phone brand Micromax is all set to launch its devices in Russia and Romania by the end of the year. The company, which is all set to be the number one smartphone player in the Indian market, wants to become a global brand.

Speaking to Business Line, Rahul Sharma, Co-Founder, Micromax Informatics Ltd, said, “Our end goal is to go global as an Indian hardware brand. I do not want to be seen as an Indian company anymore. We have tested waters in markets such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and we are among the top three phone brands in both the markets.”

Micromax has roped in Hollywood star Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador for its top-end smartphone series sold under the Canvas brand.

“We are launching in Russia in December and if I am able to crack Russia, we will also able to capture the whole (of) Europe,” Sharma said. Micromax has already set up an office in Russia with initial employees coming from rival multinational phone companies. “We have a couple of products especially for that market, and Google doesn’t work there so we have tied up with Yandex on the application level,” he said.

In Q1 2013, sales of smartphones accounted for 78 per cent of the mobile handset market in Russia. In terms of sales, the smartphone market increased by 42.5 per cent compared to Q1 2012 to reach 38.3 billion rubles. Samsung holds 33.9 per cent share of the Russian smartphone market, followed by Nokia at 14.5 per cent. Interestingly, in Q1 2013, the share of budget smartphones almost doubled, increasing to 37.4 per cent. This is the segment which Micromax can leverage.

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Sharma said that Micromax is also looking to acquire a software company, but did not elaborate on what he intended to do with it. “The next war will be in software and not hardware. Some massive thing will happen from our side on software. We are already in a lookout for software companies and as and when we find one that fits with the organisation, we will do it.”

Micromax had also launched LED TVs in October last year but has gone slow in this category. “We have started well and you will see lot of action in the first quarter of next year. We were just testing the waters initially – what are the markets like – and then launch the products,” Sharma said, adding that the company is also looking at entering the PCs and laptops segment next year.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 24, 2013)
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