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Consumers look for non-Chinese mobile phone brands

Consumers look for non-Chinese mobile phone brands

As anti-China sentiments keep rising despite de-escalation at the Galwan valley, several non-Chinese mobile phone brands—including South Korean major Samsung, Finland-based Nokia, Taiwanese Asus 6Z, and Indian Micromax, Lava and Karbonn—are beginning to see a surge in demand.

The Indian mobile phone market, the second largest in the world after China, is estimated at over 150 million units. As the government moves fast on wooing manufacturers with production-linked incentive (PLI) plan of about Rs 42,000 crore to be given over the next five years, many companies are already looking to invest here.

This will not only help India reduce its dependence on imports from China but also boost manufacturing, leading to job creation. The government is hoping to add about 2 lakh new jobs through this plan.

The popular Chinese mobile phone brands in India include One Plus, Xiaomi- Redmi, Vivo, Oppo, Realme and Lenovo among others. In a short span, Chinese mobile phone brands have managed to capture over 75 per cent of the marketshare in India.

About three years ago, the Chinese brands dominated just a little over 50 per cent of the market.

However, things could change. “Retailers have seen a dip in demand for Chinese brands. Consumers are aware today and want to know where the product is made before they make the purchase. As of now, they are consciously opting for brands which are not Chinese,” a senior executive at one of the major brands told IN on condition of anonymity.

Further, consumers are also wary of buying Chinese phones due to uncertainty. “Nobody knows how the situation emerges. In case there is further a clampdown, spare parts and servicing could also pose problems,” a shop-owner in Gurugram said.

Retailers, despite being saddled with old stocks of Chinese mobile phones, are skeptical about displaying them due to the anti-China sentiment in India.

While Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy range are popular among the high-end segment, the chunk of the demand is for phones which are in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.

“There has been a dip in supply of the popular Chinese brands too as imports from China have become more difficult in the last few months,” an analyst said.

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact have finally brought out the urgent need to diversify import markets and reduce dependence on any one country..