Chinese smartphone maker Vivo which created history by becoming India's No 2 smartphone brand for the first time in the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2019, has firmly set its eyes on thriving for a long term after building strong fundamentals in the last five years, says Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy, Vivo India.
Vivo captured 21 per cent market share to reach the second spot, after Xiaomi, as Samsung slipped to third place with 19 per cent market share in Q4, according to Counterpoint Research.
"It was all about investing, building the foundation and creating strong fundamentals in order to become a successful brand in India. Those fundamentals are across verticals, say distribution for example. We started with offline as we wanted to be a strong retail player. Today, we are present at 70,000-plus outlets across the country," Marya told IANS during an interview.
"Service centres are another key milestone for us. Our service centres are company-owned and company-operated. We have close to 600-700 such centres, ensuring that our philosophy and brand ethics reach those who visit the centres because we want to serve our customers in the right way," Marya explained.
Vivo grew 76 per cent (year-on-year) in the full year 2019 and 134 per cent (year-on-year) in Q4 2019, driven by good performance of its budget segment series.
According to Marya, "We were among the first mobile phone bands to set up their own surface-mount technology (SMT) lines. So now, our annual capacity is 33.4 million. Whatever we are making in India, we are selling here," Marya told IANS.
Over 10,000 people are directly employed at the Vivo factory in Greater Noida.
"The good thing is that our brand has reached the length and breadth of the country. Considering that 70,000-plus outlets we are present in today automatically means that we are practically present everywhere, said the Vivo executive.
Marya knows that consumer behaviour in India is fast changing so he is building devices which can sustain heavy workloads.
"If you were to ask me two main consumption patterns among the users -- one is content streaming and the other gaming. These are possible primarily for reasons like better device speed owing to next-gen processors, better displays and bigger screens. So, experience becomes more immersive, more seamless".
"As far as gaming is concerned, it is still a niche in India but will soon explode on the scene," he added.
On launching a 5G device, Marya said there is still time.
"There is no 5G network here in India. Will people still buy a 5G phone? My hypothesis is yes because I understand the psychology of a consumer. When he's buying a 5G device, he wants to be future-ready, whether 5G will come in six months or one year or two years' time, they don't know right now. But they want to be future-ready," Marya explained.
Foldable as a form factor can certainly emerge, he added, but these are early days.
"I still believe that 2020 will not see foldable in a big way. Clearly, our business is not about who launches a device with a unique form factor first. I think it all boils down to how you keep giving better and better experiences and products to consumers.
"Moving early is not that relevant. Apple is a great example which is yet to enter the 5G race. While there is a lot of merit in innovation, I don't think late movers have a disadvantage," Marya stressed.