Upbeat on India, Obi Mobiles to invest ₹120 cr this year

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on November 25, 2017

John Sculley, former CEO of Apple

Relies on talent poached from Micromax

Obi Mobiles, recently launched by former Apple Chief Executive Officer John Sculley, is aiming for 5 per cent share of the Indian smartphone market. The company plans to invest ₹120 crore in the Indian market this year, from which major chunk has been already put into its marketing and sales team.

The company that has a hundred people now and roped in around 20 executives from Micromax, including Ajay Sharma, who was the smartphone head at Micromax. Sharma is CEO of Obi Mobiles.

Sculley started the new phone brand in India in April. It has so far launched five models of smartphones, including the recently launched ‘Octopus S520’ priced at ₹12,000. Going forward it will be focusing on launching smartphones ranging between $75 (₹4,500) and $200 (₹12,000)

Since his exit from Apple in 1993, Sculley has been investing in high-tech start-ups. Sculley, who was the President of PepsiCo prior to the stint at Apple, said he is confident of the Indian market and hopes to grow Obi Mobiles with right talents and right handsets, appealing to youngsters in early 20s. “As per the market demand, we have our distribution and after-sales service centres already in place in major regions, and we think it is the perfect time to enter this market,” Sculley told BusinessLine in an interview.

Expansion plan

The company has around 50 people who are looking after each region in the 50 cities that it operates in now with 60 distributors, and 100 service centres. This will go up to 100 distributors and 150 service centres across India in the next six months.

However, unlike other new entrants in the Indian market, the company is not launching its smartphones only through e-commerce companies as it thinks the handsets should also reach in different parts of the country where customers can ‘touch and feel’ the products.

According to analysts, apart from aggressive pricing, the company would do well only if it can differentiate its products from others. “It can do well if the products are good and there is some differentiation when compared to other vendors as this market is very crowded,” Manasi Yadav, Analyst at IHS said. According to IDC, the Indian smartphone market imported over 44 million units of smartphones in 2013 and is expected to reach 80.57 million units by this year-end.

Published on July 25, 2014

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