“Infinix is looking to capture 6-8% in the market segment we cater to”
China-based Transsion Holdings’ online-only brand Infinix is slowly but surely making its presence felt in India, thanks to its value-for-worth smartphones offering premium experiences at competitive price points. Although it’s not too aggressive in marketing and primarily believes in word-of-mouth publicity, Infinix has some big plans for India and wants to make 2019 a special year with a line of offerings. Anish Kapoor, CEO, Infinix India, speaks his heart out about the brand and its business strategy, in a conversation with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Excerpts:
How’s the brand Infinix positioned itself in a hyper-competitive market like India which is mostly dominated by Chinese brands apart from the Indian and Korean players?
While the smartphone market in India is undoubtedly competitive, Infinix has positioned itself in a segment without much fragmentation i.e. the value-for-worth (sub-10k) smartphone segment offering premium experiences at competitive price points. It is a difficult territory to operate for most manufacturers, as they need to offer great user experience while keeping the costs low. Infinix’s devices are built to walk this tightrope. We have introduced several category-first features across products, which have otherwise not been offered in the smartphone world or are earned only at higher price points. Aspiration-plus innovation, this is the territory Infinix is aiming to make its presence felt in.
Despite having a strong backup of Transsion Holdings, Infinix is not that aggressive unlike other Chinese players such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. Why it is so?
While we may not be aggressive in the dynamics of aggressive marketing, it is our products that speak for themselves. We believe that in the smartphone segment, specifically in the budget-conscious target audience category that Infinix focuses on, wordof- mouth and experience is the ultimate determinant of a device’s popularity. We have registered a strong presence in various states of India, and the response, after crossing the initial critical point of awareness has been overwhelming. Since our launch in 2017, we have made substantial progress with each new device we have brought to India. While we do have plans to enhance our current marketing and advertising budgets, the very fact that we have grown substantially in such a cluttered segment shows the products, and the features to value proposition they offer, have managed to get the desired results.
Infinix mostly plays into the budget and mid segments. Do you have any plan to break this trend and come up with a premium product?
Currently, we are focused on catering to this segment as this is where our expertise lies. There is still a lot less competition in this segment as compared to others, and our brand has been able to create an identity for itself. With India expected to have the world’s youngest workforce by 2020 and a significant portion of India’s first-generation smartphone users coming from non-urban regions where we have a stronghold in, we would like to stick to this segment for a while. However, our R&D team is a workhorse that is engaged 24×7 in developing unique products offering premium, desired experiences, and we are open to exploring possibilities in the premium device category, given it fits the need-want matrix of our users.
Infinix is said to be expanding its product portfolio in India. Can you please elaborate about the same?
We have launched Smart 3 Plus and are on the verge of launching another 2 premium smartphone devices. Apart from that, we are also planning to launch allied ‘smart’ lifestyle devices to complement our smartphone offering. Within the next few months, we plan to launch a couple of more devices with a view to capture the festive season activity in India.
Tell us about your future plans. What is the market share you are eyeing in the next couple of years?
Infinix is looking to capture 6-8% in the market segment we cater to. The Indian market, though having high potential, is extremely dynamic with a lot of variables. For instance, the development of internet infrastructure is bound to push the sales of VoLTE and 5G enabled phones within a few years. Similarly, there are other trends, both external and industry specific that will determine how each enterprise in the smartphone industry develops its business strategy. It is a game of wait-and watch, and brands just need to focus on leveraging when the right opportunities presented.
|“Since our launch in 2017, we have made substantial progress with each new device we have brought to India. While we do have plans to enhance our current marketing and advertising budgets, the very fact that we have grown substantially in such a cluttered segment shows the products, and the features to value proposition they offer, have managed to get the desired results”|
Do you have any plan to go offline?
Currently, we feel that the target audience, which Infinix caters to, is more comfortable buying online, as it is a medium they are familiar with. However, we have developed a robust service center network with 950+ service centers across 700 towns in India. Thus, we have ensured users have a uniform purchasing + after sales experience.
What efforts you are taking to build the recall value of the brand?
Infinix’s products and its unique after-sales service are the two aspects that have built the recall value for the brand till now. While the uniqueness of the products are obvious thanks to category redefining features such as Triple-rear camera enabled with AI capabilities, it is our service blueprint that further distinguishes Infinix from the rest of the competitors. We do not look it as after-sales service, but postsales engagement, which involves continuous yet subtle communication with the user. For instance, while most smartphone players are not known to provide software upgrades, we provide time-bound software upgrade updates to our users to ensure their usage is not obstructed at any point. Furthermore, our service network is spread across 700 towns in India, ensuring a last-mile service experience unlike any other. We also have started X club which is our effort to community building of people who love Infinix devices which helps us regularly interact with them.
Handset-telco bundling has emerged as a next big thing in India. Do you have any plan to leverage this trend?
We at Infinix continue to explore all the possible opportunities to reach out to our TG. We continue to engage with telcos to provide value adds with our devices.
After sales service remains an issue for majority of phone makers. What is Infinix’s approach to it?
We understand after sales services is one of the key aspects for any consumer while making a purchase decision. Keeping in mind the customer centric approach which we work on, Infinix has developed a robust service center network with 950+ service centers across 700 towns in India. Thus, we have ensured that our users have a uniform purchasing and after-sales experience. We actually have gone a step ahead and have put the service app Carlcare in our devices so that our customers don’t have to look around to find the nearest service centre. Through this app customer can find out the nearest service centre, spare part cost, warranty checks etc. in case they need support with devices.