Exclusive: Panasonic set to launch smartphones in India [update]

Panasonic is set to re-enter the Indian cellphone market, multiple sources have confirmed to BGR India. The Japanese electronics giant had exited the market in mid-2000′s after its failure to sell slim high-end clamshell phones that were suited for its home market. We are told that Panasonic has already tied up with a major Indian distributor and is close to launching its first phones.

According to our sources, Panasonic is going the ODM route – getting phones manufactured from third party manufacturers – to create a product portfolio suited for India. Its distributor partner would also guide Panasonic on its product portfolio, help it in product testing and the partnership is much more than just distributing devices across the country. In fact, Panasonic’s mobile product team is currently sharing the distributor’s premises, we are told.

India will be the test market for Panasonic’s new business model and if successful, the company would aim to replicate it in other emerging markets, one of the sources told BGR India. The first phones could be launched as early as May and the company is looking at eventually introducing phones across price segments.

UPDATE: Panasonic has sent us the following response to our story.

“The content of the report on your blog is not something announced by Panasonic. Regarding the growth strategy for the business in India, we are looking into a variety of options, however nothing has been decided at the moment.”

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