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India’s Smartphone Market Seeing A Two-Horse Race Between Samsung And Xiaomi

India’s Smartphone Market Seeing A Two-Horse Race Between Samsung And Xiaomi
It is virtually a two-horse race between Samsung and Xiaomi for the fast expanding Indian smartphone market.
According to a new report by research firm Canalys, about 60 per cent of the market is captured by South Korean smartphone maker and the largest smartphone maker in the world and its fast evolving Chinese rival.
Canalys said that a new record was notched up by both the companies in the three months to June when both the companies sold almost 10 million smartphones in India.
Samsung is apparently in a path for a big comeback in the market as the new sale figures indicate. The South Korean company had market domination in India for over six years at a stretch but was beaten by Xiaomi at the end of 2017.
In the quarter to March 31, 20o18, the gap with Samsung was widened by the Chinese smartphone maker driven by its low-cost devices that have caught the fancy of the price-conscious Indian consumers. The company also added four new smartphone manufacturing factories in the country thereby tripling its manufacturing base in India.
However, in the June quarter, Samsung noted a 47 per cent growth year-on-year and this was the best growth rate in the market since the the last quarter of 2015.
"Samsung is hitting back," said Canalys analyst TuanAhn Nguyen. "It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi's capabilities."
The capacity making phones in India by the South Korean electronics company has also been beefed up.  The company launched what it called the "world's largest mobile factory" on the outskirts of New Delhi earlier this month.
With the installation of this new unit spread over an area of 32 acres, Samsung would be able to increase the number of smartphones it makes in India yearly by two-fold to about 120 million by 2020 from the current 68 million.
The total Indian market for smartphones is about 800 million.
With over 300 million smartphone users, India is already the second biggest market of smartphone users following China. According to Canalys research manager Rushabh Doshi, there is enough opportunity in the market for other companies despite the stranglehold over the market by Samsung and Xiaomi.
There are other Chinese phone companies that are also eyeing a large chunk of the Indian market. Vivo and Oppo – both Chinese rivals of Xiaomi, possess about 11 per cent ands 10 per centof the market share respectively.
But Apple is one global brand that hardly has a presence in India.
It has been years that the iPhone has been struggling to make a mark in the Indian market. Apple has been stopped from setting up its single brand retail stores in India because of regulators issues where single brand \makers are required to make most of the production in India.
And for the vast majority of price conscious Indian consumers, the iPhone is too costly. The average annual wage in India is less than $2,000.
According to Doshi, there has been a drop off 50 per cent in the shipments of iPhones to India in the last quarter. While Apple has started manufacturing some of the iPhone models in Bangalore, India, yet its pro\ices are beyond the reach of the average Indian consumer.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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