Pana­sonic Bets on 4G Models to Dou­ble Mo­bile Rev­enues

Co plans to launch eight new models in the next 45 days, hike ad spends

The Economic Times - - Busi­ness Of Brands - Dan­ish.Khan@

timesin­ter­ New Delhi: Pana­sonic In­dia ex­pects to more than dou­ble its rev­enue from mo­bile phones to .₹ 2,500 crore by the end of this fis­cal year, by which time the Ja­panese com­pany aims to dou­ble its mar­ket share on the back of ag­gres­sive launch plans, es­pe­cially around 4G, backed by higher mar­ket­ing spend­ing.

“The mo­bile divi­sion con­trib­uted 15% to­wards over­all In­dia rev­enue, which we want to take to 25% by the end of the on­go­ing fis­cal,” Pankaj Rana, busi­ness head - mo­bil­ity divi­sion, Pana­sonic In­dia, told ET. The com­pany dou­bled its mo­bile busi­ness rev­enue in the fis­cal year ended March 31to .₹ 1,200 crore, from .₹ 600 crore in 2014-15. The com­pany plans to launch eight new smart­phones in the next 45 days, seven of them be­ing 4G VoLTE smart­phones. Cur­rently, it has 10 smart­phones in the mar­ket, priced be­tween .₹ 5,000 and .₹ 14,000, with seven be­ing 4G-en­abled. “Our up­com­ing smart­phones will sup­port all the 4G bands, and tele­com op­er­a­tors in In­dia,” Rana said. This fis­cal, which started April 1, the com­pany will launch 30-35 new smart­pho- nes, priced be­tween .₹ 4,000 and .₹ 20,000.

Ac­cord­ing to in­ter­nal data, Pana­sonic had around 3% mar­ket share at the end of just ended fis­cal year when it sold 1.5 mil­lion smart­phones, Rana said. He ex­pects the com­pany to sell around 3 mil­lion this fis­cal year and ex­pand its share to 6-8% mar­ket share by the end of the on­go­ing fis­cal.

Pana­sonic, which started sell­ing its smart­phones in 2013 here, is largely fo­cused on the off­line dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel, but hasn’t been very suc­cess­ful in In­dia so far. Newer en­trants such as Xiaomi cur­rently sells nearly 1.5 mil­lion smart­phones a quar­ter by fo­cus­ing mainly on the on­line chan­nel. But Pana­sonic will re­tain its off­line fo­cus this fi­nan­cial year as well, and will spend about .₹ 220 crore on mar­ket­ing, al­most a fifth of which on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. The com­pany’s mar­ket­ing in­vest­ment will be al­most dou­ble from last year’s .₹ 120 crore.

“More than brand, its price that sells in the on­line chan­nel,” he said, adding that the com­pany has a good brand eq­uity in the mar­ket due to other con­sumer durable prod­ucts, thereby it will con­tinue to lever­age the off­line re­tail chan­nel. Rana said that the com­pany though will launch a few ex­clu­sive smart­phones, but would not ag­gres­sively tar­get the chan­nel, due to stiff com­peti- tion. “Even though we have a fo­cus on off­line, we would still be bullish on dig­i­tal, as it in­flu­ences cus­tomers and their pur­chas­ing,” Rana said, while ex­plain­ing the com­pany’s move on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. Pana­sonic’s 80% smart­phones are lo­cally as­sem­bled by its man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner Dixon at the Noida fa­cil­ity, where there are six ded­i­cated as­sem­bly lines for the hand­set ven­dors. Rana said that by the end of the on­go­ing quar­ter, Pana­sonic will ful­fill the en­tire do­mes­tic de­mand from lo­cally as­sem­bled smart­phones.

In ad­di­tion, the com­pany will in­crease the as­sem­bly lines to nine from the cur­rent six, along with five pack­ag­ing lines to sup­port the growth in the mar­ket.

The mo­bile divi­sion has con­trib­uted 15% to co’s over­all In­dia rev­enues

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