Smartphone maker Micromax is rising because the Xiaomi of India—a lot to Samsung’s dismay — Quartz


India’s foreign money could also be floundering however its smartphone market is on fireplace—gross sales have almost tripled within the final 12 months, led by the native upstart Micromax, which is nipping on the heels of Samsung for market share dominance. Micromax now instructions a 22% market share, up from 18.8% within the first quarter. Samsung’s share has slipped to 26% from 32.7%.


The state of affairs that’s taking part in out in India—preliminary dominance by international manufacturers like Samsung and Sony, which is shortly eroded by homegrown producers like Micromax and Karbonn—is eerily much like the dynamic seen in China, the place Samsung and Apple had an early benefit that’s being steadily erased by Huawei and Lenovo.

Different corporations that match the same mould embody Coolpad in China, Smartfren in Indonesia, Ninetology in Malaysia, Cherry Cellular within the Philippines, i-Cellular in Thailand, and Q-Good in Vietnam, as IDC famous earlier this month. There may be loads of cash on the desk: rising market gross sales are anticipated to surge from 400 million models in 2013 to 749 million in 2017.

In India’s case, the development will likely be accelerated by the nation’s foreign money woes, that are making international imports far more costly—the rupee has declined by almost a 3rd within the final six months. However even with out international change fluctuations it might spell dangerous information for corporations like Samsung and Apple, which derive large parts of their earnings from smartphones, but have largely saturated their present markets and are dealing with more and more intense home competitors in new ones.

Micromax, now inside shouting distance of changing into the highest smartphone maker on the planet’s largest market after america and China, at first look bears some similarities to Xiaomi, the Chinese language agency that drew consideration this week by poaching a prime govt from Google’s Android division, which makes the working system utilized by some 80% of the world’s smartphones, together with Samsung and Micromax.

Like Xiaomi, Micromax’s top-of-the-line telephones are considerably cheaper than the premium-priced handsets from Apple and Samsung; its newly launched Canvas Doodle 2 phablet sells for Rs 19,990 ($300). (It additionally has a gimmicky “blow-to-unlock” function.) The corporate has wager closely on the super-size telephones often called phablets, which now make up 30% of the Indian smartphone market. “[G]iven the expansion we’re seeing within the phablet class (Canvas sequence), we’re aiming to be the highest participant by Diwali, which is Q3,” Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma informed the PTI information company.

Market analysis agency IDC mentioned that India’s second-quarter smartphone gross sales almost tripled to 9.3 million, from 3.5 million a 12 months earlier, led by units with super-sized screens of 5 inches and greater. These so-called phablets now make up 30% of the Indian smartphone market.

If there’s something standing in the best way of Micromax’s march to dominance in India it is perhaps the shortage of a charismatic govt on the helm, a la Xiaomi’s Lei Jun, typically referred to as “China’s Steve Jobs.” Rajesh Agarwal, the co-founder and managing director of Micromax, was compelled to resign at the start of August after he was arrested for making an attempt to bribe municipal engineers to acquire approval for the development of a banquet corridor. The incident might derail the corporate’s anticipated IPO; it’s backed by personal fairness corporations Sequoia Capital, Sandstone Capital and Madison India Capital.


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