GM - Marketing,
Sharp Business Systems (India) Limited
How do you see your entry in the Indian market, when it comes to selling your mobile phones here?
The Indian Market is ruled mainly by low cost handsets, which contributes to more than 85% of the total market. Sharp on the other hand is more into one-of-a-kind handsets with a unique form factor that does not fall into the normal breed.
So far we have got fairly good success in East, North East, West & North India. We are now in the process of strengthening our Distribution Network in the other parts of the country. We wish to become a leader in the 'mobility market' of the country by building upon our core competency of providing high quality visual technology, coupled with cutting-edge form factor innovations.
What kind of product range do you have in your basket as of now? Is it high-end or mid-level or all?
Sharp has high and mid level handsets in its product range. We made our entry into the Indian market with 4 models namely Alice, Blink, Tango and Cyborg which was followed by the launch of Liea-V a sensation for today's women, and we expect to come out with more new models later this year. The devices are designed to cater to the demands of the trendy yet price-conscious handset users and signal the company's ambition to break down the barrier between technology and people and make high quality mobiles highly affordable to all. We are confident that the quality of Touch experience provided by our phones will be really loved by progressive Indian consumers.
How do you see the competition coming from both the established players and the emerging domestic handset importers?
Competition is becoming very stiff as more and more number of handset makers enter this market. But regardless of this competition, we look forward to striking a balance between what would work with the Indian consumers and how we can offer that extra edge in our product offerings over those of our competitors. Above that, our tryst with newer technologies and bringing them within the reach of the Indian customers would always be there and this would be a big determinant factor in proving ourselves better than most of the players operational in the market.
Also, the Retailers benchmark Sharp as a respectable brand and agree that it is superior than many international brands in terms of both quality and looks.
What are your target geographies?
We are currently concentrated in the East, North East, West and Northern part of the country and we are doing fairly well in all these regions. Sharp has plans to target the youth of the country and we are seeing a huge potential growth in this area. Our handsets have been modeled keeping in mind the youth between the age group of 16 - 35 years in urban and semi-urban cities, who are stylish, on the move, confident, vivacious and above all want value for money. Over the next six months, we will be coming up with various offers and ideas to keep the brand name in the consumers' minds.
How many handsets do you plan to announce by the closure of the financial year?
We should be coming out with close to 50,000 handsets by the end of this financial year. (shipments). This would also include soon-to-be launched Liea-V.
What kind of market share are you targeting and what is the tentative time-frame you have set for yourself?
We wish to garner 5% of the total handset market share by 2012. The number would rise as we penetrate deeper into the market and enter new areas which have remained untapped so far.
Do tell us something about your channel presence in the country?
We are operating currently through 500 retail outlets and 7 distributors in the country. With the expansion of our business to other parts of the country, we expect to grow our presence by another 2000 retail points and sign 5 more distributors. This should be completed by July 2011.
What are your future plans?
Going forward, we will continue to keep our focus and reliance on R&D alive, resulting in more technological breakthroughs and advancements. A huge amount of research has already gone into the making of these handsets and this clearly gets manifested in our products that are available in the market.
Are you targeting sales through LFRs?
Not immediately. Targeting sales through LFRs would take some time as that would require a different approach and strategies. As of now, we see our sales happening only through our retailers and distributors and the response that we are getting is quite overwhelming.
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