Poco India regional director Anuj Sharma told me through a video call: “In the technology sector, there are a lot of traditional brands.” “The reason Apple or Samsung is still important today is because they continue to launch excellent products all the time. Sal. Xiaomi is still in the news because they have launched products like Mi 11 Ultra or Mi Mix Fold,” They said.
The key to remaining relevant is to be open to change. Customize and continue to innovate. Don’t just stick to one formula or old technology.
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Sharma is laying the foundation for some exciting news that Poco has collected for us today. According to data released by IDC, Xiaomi’s derivative products grew 300% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, after Realme and OnePlus became the third largest online smartphone brands in India. According to the company’s “Global Quarterly Cell Phone Tracker” report in May 2021, Poco is currently the fastest growing brand in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.
Sharma said this may not be the most important metric, but from a business point of view, it’s a good thing in this challenging era, because “a four-fold increase over the past year means that out of the important strategic directions we’ve taken. Many seem like that. Be different. It works. ”
One of these decisions is not to limit yourself to the 20-30k price range. With the Poco X2, it began to become “more inclusive”. The idea is to get to the center of the market, or at least get close to it. Since then, it has entered other more affordable price categories for the M Series and C Series, following its original strategy to maintain one of the lowest product portfolios on the market, in all global epidemics, this very is clear. Compare with Xiaomi.
“We don’t agree with launching (concept) a large number of new products just to remain relevant. Sharma said that our product portfolio is more streamlined than today’s iPhones. Sharma said that Poco is one of its product range. Will operate products within, which may lead to bringing some fairness, and “overwhelming consumers with (too many) choices may not always be the best solution.”
One of Poco’s main concerns when entering the 15,000 or Rs 10,000 price range is (limited) consumer awareness and the fact that it is not really dependent on product selection for online marketing (ATL) marketing. . Have lots of conversations. In that sense, phones like Poco M2 and Poco C3 can boost sales and business, considering how they can boost Poco’s confidence, they are unique.
A difficult business
It is difficult to become an enthusiastic brand only, especially from a commercial point of view. Take OnePlus as an example. The brand debuted as a well-known “major killer” mobile phone, and over the years it has changed to using advanced hardware and relatively high prices to create genuine flagship products. Even if it can keep the entire flagship killer category alive in one way or another, you can see that a lot of things are happening in closed doors as OnePlus is trying to find the right balance.
Sharma believes that there are some advantages to doing this, as it is wrong to think that technology enthusiasts only focus on specific price points. You may be interested in technology, and ultimately, you may have varying degrees of enthusiasm. You can be in it without worrying about rooting the phone or flashing a custom ROM on it. Maybe, you look at all the shiny new hardware (and customized software) and say to yourself, hey, I can see that I’m using it, if I can (and do) it within my budget. It would be even better.
There is no way to separate enthusiasts from ordinary buyers, and it is fitting that brands like OnePlus (and Poco) are working tirelessly to get out of this dilemma. This is not to say that what these brands are doing is easy, because “whenever you change your strategy, it is a tense moment.” When Poco stated that the Poco C3 is geared towards technology enthusiasts, the way it plays (in text and function) the settings are a bit different. The same is true for other products.
Today, Manu Kumar Jain has stated that Xiaomi has not launched any phone priced above Rs 50,000 in India, the reason being that there is no such technology to justify these high priced labels. (Fast forward to 2021, we have a phone similar to the Mi 11 Ultra, which uses the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the OnePlus 9 Pro. It is Xiaomi’s most ambitious product in the country so far. For the company, it is a New dawn. If you.)
Sharma says it has another aspect, not just technical limitations: the country’s own economy. “If I have a device priced at US $ 500 in India, I can only meet 3-4% of the demand in the entire market. If I have a device priced at US $ 500 in Singapore, I can sell around 80 Will meet -90.% Of market demand. ” From a business standpoint, the brand should also consider “if I can reach enough market, and believe that I have enough resources where as Poco. ”
Like Xiaomi, Poco must also brave the storm of perception in India. Its first product, the Poco F1, was so ahead of its time, it’s almost like a cult classic and a successor is awaited to this day. However, in the last three years, expected expectations have changed, Sharma says and “just having a superlative performance is not enough. People want different boxes ticked. They want the best-in-class display, top notch cameras, so on and so forth, “so much so that,” a Poco F1 might not even be possible in 2021. ”
In fact, even if you imagine the Poco F1 in 2018 with a high-quality display or a glass body, “it would have costed more.”
Sharma hopes Poco has been able to pacify some people – waiting for a Poco F1 successor – with the newly launched Poco X3 Pro but of course “people still want to see how far we can go” and it will take time to break perceptions. As and when the Poco F1 successor does show up, it will follow the economics of things as per the market. In other words, expected expect it come (as) cheap.
That is alright though, Sharma says, as over the years, more people have opened to buying a device at 30-40k. The market has moved, and the expectations have changed and if people are looking at a Poco F1 follow up, “They are likely not expecting to get it at 20-25k.”
As and when it comes, it is also likely to face tough competition. Question is, why is India such a hard market to crack.
“The way I see it is that India missed out on this entire automotive wave that happened in the 60s, 70s, 80s, even the 90s. That enthusiast market never really picked up for automotive, but it picked up for electronics. This is where a lot of people have genuinely got excited about it. A lot of people identify themselves as excited about tech, or genuinely caring about tech, which also means that their expectations are always higher, ”Sharma says adding,“ it is harder to crack the social media of the country than probably the market itself. ”
India is probably one of the few global markets where 5G smartphones have arrived way before the network itself – that too in a big way. The same social media, that Sharma says is a tough cookie, is buzzing with the keyword. Many of the conversations, especially regarding affordable 5G phones, seem to revolve around the topic of “5G tax” which is to say that every new budget 5G phone has some or the other caveat.
But that is expected, so says Sharma, as 5G hardware (like upgrading from a 12MP camera to a 48MP camera for instance) is going to cost more money and it will be all about “figuring out the balance and see if we can provide both . ”
Poco will “probably” launch a 5G phone in India this year since at a certain point, “it will be pretty much impossible to not have a 5G device” in its portfolio. The “real” challenge will be “how to keep our portfolio clean while doing that.”
It will also be a challenge deciding the number of 5G bands to consider. OnePlus has been called out by many for launching the OnePlus 9-series in India with a cap of two bands at max, when globally the same phones support more.
“The only band that matters is the one which we can use, and the indications seem to be in the 77–78 range. The expectation is that at least one of the network operators will be faster from auction to market (deployment) and it would be one of these bands and most 5G phones will work fine, ”Sharma says. “One concern is that while we travel, it might not work in another country. That challenge will always be there. ”
Given a choice, Sharma would choose a band he can use versus having a spreadsheet with gazillion bands but not be able to use much of it. “I think the right band is important that the number of bands you have,” he adds.
Poco’s upcoming 5G phone (s) in India will be based on the same philosophy.
Poco is working with a limited audience. Its products are only sold online. There is no retail presence whatsoever. No India R&D. Considerably what Sharma has to say about each of these aspects:
On offline expansion: “Not at the moment, but you never know. We are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping things get back to normal soon. ”
On team expansion: “Expansion is happening, but we are taking it slow, adding as per requirement.”
On India R&D: “R&D is a little trickier. We have been working closely with the global Poco team now. Setting up R&D beyond the product testing, is a little tough. It requires people working together and currently it is hard to pull a lot of people and put them into the same office. But it is definitely on the cards. At least the main R&D, which will come in from a software perspective, we are looking at that, working together with the global team and creating something there. ”
On Poco F1 successor: “We are still due to deliver an F-series follow up. Hopefully, we will pull something off there soon. “