Intex, the homegrown smartphone brand, was once on the second spot in terms of sales volume in India. The firm is now struggling to remain in the top ten smartphone brands, as competition from China and beyond has won over the Indian consumer base. Now, Intex is readying for another entry with a new smartphone launch in the next two weeks, as it seeks to regain lost ground in the Indian market.
Speaking to BGR India’s Ankit Sharma, Nidhi Markanday – Director at Intex Technologies – said that the company is planning to gain back market share in the coming quarters and shared Intex’s plan for 2018.
How has the last financial year been for Intex?
The last financial year was pretty good for us. Consumer durables and the IT business are doing well. But in terms of mobile phones, there was a bit decline due to various reasons. We are not the only player that has faced this issue; the entire homegrown smartphone market has faced similar issues. But even after all of these hurdles we have done a great job and hope to bounce back in all those areas where we lost out in the last financial year.
What is the turnover figure you have got in 2017-18? And what are your current financial objectives?
The auditing is still underway but roughly, it is about Rs 3,200 crore. The figure is lower than the previous financial year but, there are various reasons due to which it happened. One of these is demonetisation and the other is the rolling out of GST. Competition in the market from Chinese brands and entry of Jio into the feature phone space are the other reasons. Migration from 3G to 4G by the market had a great impact on us. So considering all of these factors, we did pretty well in 2017. Now for this financial year we have targeted 15 per cent growth.
Reliance Jio has disrupted the market with the launch of the JioPhone. How did it affect your business?
Jio didn’t affect any single player, but the whole market. Largely, its impact was seen on the feature phone market. With the launch of the JioPhone, the market of 2.8 inch feature phones got affected adversely and this happened due to the similarities between the two. Furthermore, the 1.8 or 2.4 inch feature phone market has also shrunk with the introduction of the JioPhone.
Currently in the feature phone and smartphone market, where do you stand? Do you have any plans to enter in the mid-range price segment?
According to reports, we have a 15 per cent market share in the feature phone segment. Similarly, if you see the smartphone market in terms of price segment, we have a very strong hold in the market up to the Rs 5,000 point. So, we really don’t want to lose our position in those spaces. Intex has always been perceived to offer a value-for-money proposition to the customer. That is why our main focus is to play up the Rs 7,000 segment for at least this year. Beside mobile phones, we are the number one player in the speaker and power bank segments. As per reports, we rose to the fifth position in the LED TV market.
Is it that Intex waits for a demand increase and then enters that particular segment? I am asking this question because Intex has forayed into the TV, AC and washing machine markets when demand has been at its peak. Don’t you think that customers miss out on innovation through this strategy?
No, We are not waiting for anyone before making decisions. We started as an IT product company over 20 years ago, and today we have our presence across product categories. In fact, we look at whether the market is ready or not. Today, the market is ready for full-view displays on phones and we are the first Indian brand which is getting into this trend at a very affordable price point. We will not disclose the price at this time because the device still hasn’t been launched.
And if we are talking about innovation, that is the first priority we always keep in our mind. In fact, our new smartphone is coming up with some fantastic features. Talking about company’s forays into the AC, TV and washing machine markets, this is our strategy of corporate expansion. As a company, we don’t want to be too dependent on our mobile phone business.
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Half of the revenue you get comes from the phone segment. What will be your strategy this year?
Yes, the phone segment has the highest revenue of around 50 to 55 percent in our turnover. In fact, feature phones played a major role for us, similar to the smartphones. They equally participated in generating revenue. However this year, we are expecting the smartphone business to take over the feature phone segment for us in generating revenue. It is likely that about 70 per cent of revenue will come from our smartphone business.
How many devices have you launched this year?
In this quarter (July to September), we are planning to launch six smartphones. And by the end of the year, it would be about 12 to 15 handsets (feature phones and smartphones). Besides the smartphone business, we are planning to launch 20 to 25 products across different categories, such as powerbanks, washing machines, TVs and speakers, among others.
Are you looking to raise funds through an initial public offer or you have some acquisition plans?
Our balance sheet is looking good for now. We have enough funds for our planned expansions. As of now we have no plans for raising any funds of making any acquisitions either.