Why Are Qualcomm And MediaTek Working With Disappearing Indian Smartphone Brands?

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A move that has come nothing short of a boon for the Indian mobile manufacturers; SoC giants ( or System on a Chip manufacturer like Qualcomm and MediaTek) have said that they will be working with the indigenous mobile handset manufacturers in India to help them make a comeback in the Indian mobile market.

The news comes out in a time when the local mobile manufacturers like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Intex are experiencing, sort of, a total wipe-out from the Indian Markets, at the hands of the Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.

Before we dig deep to analyze how SoC have planned to help Indian smartphone manufacturers, and whether the local manufacturers could really leverage on it, let’s first understand why – and how – do Indian smartphone manufacturers are in a desperate need of such push from the mobile hardware industry leaders.

The Fall of Local Handset Manufacturers in India

The top four Indian mobile manufacturers comprise of Micromax, Lava Intex and Karbonn. These local handset manufacturing companies controlled a sizable share ( up to 41% ) of the Indian mobile market in Q1 2016. However, come Q1 2017 and they marked a sharp decline in their percentage of market share, tumbling down to a mere 14%.

On the other hand, the much neglected and underestimated Chinese handsets manufacturers, which had held a mere 15% share of the India smartphone shipments in Q1 2016, witnessed a meteoric rise. In the following one year – by the end of Q1 2017 – the Chinse smartphone OEMs, especially including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, had noted a mind-boggling jump in their shares ( up to 51%) of smartphone shipments in India.

Fast forward Q2 2018, none of the Indian smartphone manufacturers made to the list of Top smartphone vendors in India, while Xiaomi along with the Korean manufacturer Samsung, account for over 60% shares in the Indian smartphone market.

There may be several reasons pointed out behind the decline of the local mobile handset manufacturers. The first and foremost being the absences of effective marketing; when compared with the overly enthusiastic Chinese counterpart, the indigenous manufacturers have been dull while making effective marketing strategies for the products. This might be due to the mere lack of funds against the massively funded Chinese companies, or just a plain strategic fault. Other reasons also include inferior technology and a lesser offline and online market availability in the Indian Markets, as against the Chinese manufacturers.

Qualcomm and MediaTek: Determined To Help The Local Manufacturers?

Both the SoC manufacturers have been working with the local handset manufacturers in India with an explicit intention to enable the native mobile manufacturers , such as Micromax, Lava, Intex, Karbonn etc, to make a comeback in the Indian mobile market scene, that has currently experienced a complete domination at the hands of the Chinese handset companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo.

MediaTek aims at giving a chance to the local manufacturers if they have a mindset to expand in the current mobile market in India.

“There has been some correction for sure in the market. Some will come back, and they are already working in this direction, and we are closely working with them. There are challenges, but it’s not impossible,” says Kuldeep Mallik, Head of Corporate Sales – Mediatek.

He further adds that the local manufacturers must aim to control the complete value chain including the software, hardware and design and eventually preparing for a global market.

Senior Vice- President for APAC & India at Qualcomm International, Jim Cathey says, “You’re going to see us continue to enable local brands to make them successful in their smartphone business.”

The Indian smartphone manufacturers including Micromax, Lava etc. are sure to try and cash-on the opportunity to have their presence felt again in the local markets, at least. How far will they succeed to counter the cash-rich highly aggressive Chinese smartphone vendors in India, only the results of smartphone shipments in the next few quarters will tell.


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