The Indian smartphone market is heating up nicely, with Xiaomi dethroning the long-time leader Samsung to grab the top-spot recently. In response, Samsung is now gearing up to launch India-focused smartphones across various price points.
"You can expect multiple devices being launched over the year across price segments that we operate in. These smartphones will be available across online and offline channels from time to time," Asim Warsi, Global Vice President, Samsung India, told IANS.
The move is largely a result of Xiaomi and other Chinese companies' emergence as the top players in the Indian market. Xiaomi became the biggest smartphone seller in India recently. What's even staggering is the speed at which Xiaomi's share in India is growing. The company had a mere 6% market share as late as the second half of 2016. But, by the end of 2017, its market share reached 25%, surpassing Samsung.
Xiaomi has been coming out with one after another incredible smartphones at stunningly low prices. The only way Samsung can tackle the Chinese brand is by making better budget-smartphones. Samsung did revised its Galaxy ON and Galaxy J line of smartphones that fall in the entry-level to the mid-range category, in order to compete with Xiaomi’s range of smartphones. But significantly, it weren't enough and Samsung might have surely realised that by now.
When it comes to premium phones, Samsung leads the market by a long way. The South Korean tech giant brought its flagship Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices to India on Tuesday, pricing them at Rs 57,900 and Rs 64,900, respectively, for 64GB variants. Warsi believes the new devices will help the company further consolidate its leadership in the premium segment.
"The kind of response we've seen from India towards our devices has been unprecedented so far. We expect the excitement around S9 and S9+ is going to take it to another level," he said.
When enquired about the growing competition from Chinese companies, he said: "We have never seen a phase in the mobile industry where competition was not active. Competition has always been there and that's the great part of the industry."
The latest Samsung flagships, Galaxy S9 and S9+ will go on sale from March 16. The newly promised India-focused smartphones will be launched in the remaining part of the year.