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New Delhi (Sputnik): Chinese smartphone players are expanding their product portfolios in India – which, in recent years, has displaced the US as the second-largest market for mobiles in the world.
Guangzhou-based BBK Electronics, the parent company of famous Chinese smartphone brands including OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo and RealMe, on Thursday announced a new sub-brand in India called “iQOO”.
At its first offering, iQOO has already hired 80 team members and will launch a 5G-enabled premium smartphone in India next month, expected to be priced above Rs.30,000 ($420 approx.)
Media reports suggest that IQOO will compete with dominant Chinese mobile player Xiaomi, that emerged as the number one smartphone brand in India with a 26 per cent market share in 2019.
Launched in China in 2016, iQOO began its operations as a sub-brand of Vivo. After a successful launch, the brand became an independent entity. BBK Electronics has decided to follow the same plan in India as well.
Besides, iQOO’s upcoming phone will be a “Made-in-India” product, manufactured in Vivo’s India facility in the Greater Noida region of Uttar Pradesh state.
Complete with chipmaker Qualcomm’s advanced mobile chipset the Snapdragon 865, the phone whose name remains undisclosed will be launched in both, 5G as well as 4G variants.
As of now, the exact price of the premium device also remains unknown.
Last year, market research firm Counterpoint revealed that Indians are expending lavishly on expensive smartphones. Between 2018-2019, the premium mobile phone segment grew by a whopping 66 per cent in the country.
Amid a simmering US-China trade war, the year 2019 witnessed major smartphone players shifting their focus to India for both sale and manufacture.
In September 2019, California-based Apple announced hefty investments of $1 billion and $13 million to facilitate iPhone production and boost the brand’s retail expansion in India. In November, Indian-made iPhones hit the shelves in national and global markets.
In December, South-Korean tech giant Samsung announced that India had managed to churn out $10 billion in revenue for the company despite a drop in brand sales and the ongoing economic slump in the country that has resulted in the nation’s slowest financial growth in six years.
By 2022, smartphone manufacturing in India is expected to see $6.2 billion worth of investment.