How Gionee cracked the success code on smartphone

May 12 2014, 12:28 IST
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Ninety per cent of Gionee's revenues come from smartphones. Ninety per cent of Gionee's revenues come from smartphones.
SummaryIn April, Gionee sold 1.88 lakh units and generated Rs 143 crore as revenue.

A couple of hours before I meet Arvind R Vohra, India head, Gionee Smartphones, I connect with a distributor in the Karol Bagh mobile phone market in Delhi—one of India’s largest such markets. When asked about Gionee, the distributor smiles and says, “One out of every five customers asks about Gionee nowadays.” As I share the same with Vohra, he too smiles, and adds, “If you launch a product at the right price and ensure its quality is among the best, it will generate interest.”

He is right, because until a year ago, not many knew about Gionee. Today, prospective mobile phone buyers have at least heard of the brand and are asking about it. “In older days, when a phone didn’t work properly and if it was a Nokia, people used to say the network is bad. But if it was a Samsung or a Sony, people said the phone is bad. We aim for that erstwhile ‘Nokia’ position as far as quality is concerned,” Vohra says.

When asked how exactly Gionee ensured supply of good quality products, Vohra replies, “In a smartphone, the screen needs to be immaculate, the processor speed needs to be fast, the battery life needs to be good, and memory needs to be great. Because producing a good smartphone needs a lot of R&D,

you cannot make immediate changes to the product depending on market-demand. So, right from the time we entered India, we focused on the fact that the smartphones we manufacture don’t miss out on any

required features.”

The Gionee India head says, “In fact, our good product quality is reflected by our pass rate of 99.7%. The 0.3% products that fail can be managed through good service.” He further says that any company can get its products placed in the supply chain and the distribution network, but from there on it has to sell. And it will sell only if it is good. “Once your product gets sold and the user is satisfied, then he will get you more customers,” Vohra says.

Apart from right price and good quality, what is needed to sell is a proper distribution channel. Vohra adds, “Companies such as BlackBerry and Apple came with national distribution networks and then they sold products to regional distributors. We directly went to regional distributors. The money that we saved in the process, we spend on building the distributor organisation and putting our own

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