Talking to NDTV Gadgets at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday, Amar Babu, VP, COO, and Lenovo APAC Chairman told that the company plans to heavily bet on 4G technology and hopes to further increase the market share by end of this year. He clarified that the 30 percent marketshare includes sales of Motorola's smartphones, a company that Lenovo acquired last year.
At the event, Lenovo also announced its 'Make in India' plans. The company confirmed that its new manufacturing plant in Sriperambudur, Chennai will have separate assembly lines for Motorola and Lenovo phones.
Babu stressed on the importance of 4G, and said this was one of the reasons why the company chose to go with 4G models (Moto E (Gen 2) 4G and Lenovo K3 Note), to start manufacturing in India. "We will be very aggressive on 4G and we bet on 4G as a technology. That's why both the models we are manufacturing are 4G-enabled," said Babu.
He confirmed that aside from these two phones, other handsets would also be manufactured at the new plant in Chennai, but added that the decision on what these models will be is yet to be made.
"We have set up a capacity of 6 million units so we have to have more models assembled at the facility here," explained Babu. "We can't have two models running 6 million units." Given that Lenovo's portfolio includes several phones that cost under Rs. 10,000, the company has no shortage of candidates for the new facility.
Lenovo has multiple offerings in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment: Lenovo A6000 (priced at Rs. 6,999), Lenovo A6000 Plus (priced at Rs. 7,499), Lenovo A7000 (priced at Rs. 8,999), and Lenovo K3 Note (priced at Rs. 9,999), not to mention Motorola's Moto E (Gen 2) (priced at Rs. 5,999) and Moto E (Gen 2) 4G (priced at Rs. 6,999). We asked if this was confusing for the customers. Babu answered by stressing on the fact that customers at the two ends of the Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 10,000 price segment are looking for different things, and said there's a "substantial difference" in the pricing of the aforementioned devices.
Babu stressed on Lenovo's growth as a smartphone brand, away from just being considered a PC brand.
"We have moved great deal on it. In our own internal studies, we were on number 18 on brand charts (smartphone) and now we have moved up to 5 or 6," said Babu. "We have been investing in the brand with Ranbir Kapoor for a year now as in telling customers we are there in phones and our success with some of these 4G models especially in the last 6 to 9 months have been tremendous." At the same time, he admitted that in smartphones Motorola is more popular than Lenovo, which he claimed "is good for the brand."
Babu also confirmed that Lenovo will be launching its first camera-focused smartphone, the Vibe Shot in India in the coming months. He declined to share any possible pricing for the handset saying that "it would be too early to comment on pricing."
When asked about the flash-sale model, Babu talked about a demand-supply problem in India. "The demand is greater than supply," said Babu, while explaining why the company chose Flipkart over its exclusive dostore.com for selling smartphones in India. "Because Flipkart is like a mall while the Dostore is a dedicated store. We go to a mall because there are more footfalls and it has various options; you don't have that when visiting a dedicated store."