Indian smartphone market is so huge that you can create your own space: Comio India CEO

Comio, a new Chinese smartphone brand backed by Topwise Communications, wants to take things slow in India for now. The company claims to have close to 350 service centers in place across northern and western parts of India, and its products will be available with about 50,000 retailers starting next week. “We don’t aim to become the number one brand in just one year, instead we’re taking it slow and steady in India. Our focus will be to provide a better experience to consumers,” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, CEO and Director, Comio India.

Comio unveiled three smartphones in India – P1, S1 and C1 –in the sub Rs 10,000 category. All the three devices will be up for grabs offline as well as online. “We are focused on offline, but we will be available online as well next week. There’s no exclusive tie-up with any of the portals and Comio devices will be available across all leading e-commerce websites,” he added.

Given there’s stiff competition in the under-Rs 10,000 smartphone category in India thanks to aggressive campaigning by brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo etc, Comio will probably have to do more than just launch devices in the market.

On being asked how Comio plans to tackle competition, Kalirona said, “Indian smartphone market is so huge that you can create your own space. There are so many players, but we differ in terms of distribution strength and the kind of specifications we’re giving in a Rs 6,000 phone. We believe that we’ll create our space,” said Kalirona.

Comio P1, which is company’s flagship smartphone, is priced at Rs 8,999. Camio S1 and C1 cost Rs 8,999 and Rs 5,999 respectively. Comio P1 gets a massive 5,000 mAh battery and there’s 13MP rear camera on-board.

Sanjay is positive that the company will set up its own manufacturing plant in India by the end of this year. “By the end of this year, we’ll have our own factory in place in India. It will probably be in Noida in North India. For the next few months, we’d want to launch devices within Rs 10,000 only. We have a device that costs Rs 5,999 and another at Rs 8,999. We’d want to fill that gap first. We would want to foray into other segments like wearables etc, but that is going to happen next year. We want to focus on smartphones for now as that is our strength,” he insists.

As for after-sales service, the company claims to have a “strong distribution network” and multi-branded service centres in almost every city where it plans to distribute its devices. “We’re also giving out a couple of after sale offers so that the customer is assured while buying our products. In Delhi itself, the company has eight to ten service centres as of now,” added Kalirona.

“We’re focusing on north and west India for now. Our devices will be available from next week in 90 per cent of the districts in northern, and western Indian states. The two regions contribute to about 57 per cent smartphone market, on an average,” he explained.

According to a report by IDC, feature phone segment in India is expected to experience a boost in the upcoming quarter thanks to the launch of Reliance JioPhone, which is expected to hit the shelves on September.

However, Sanjay feels that smartphones is where the company’s strength lies and it will continue to work on the same, at least for now. “We’re not targeting feature phones as the strength of Topwise Communications is smartphones and we’re looking to use that in India as well. In India, we’ll focus on our brand and not manufacture for other OEMs,” he said.

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