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BW Businessworld

‘Our Focus Is On Tier-III And -IV Cities’

George Zhu, global president of China’s Transsion Holdings, talks about his new venture in India and on delivering low-cost mobile phones

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George Zhu, global president of China’s Transsion Holdings, talks to BW Businessworld’s Haider Ali Khan, about his new venture in India and on delivering low-cost mobile phones.

What brings Transsion Holdings to India?
We aspire to be the market leader in emerging countries like India. We started the mobile industry from Europe and America, and moved to Japan, Korea and China. Now it’s blooming in the Indian and African markets; we are here to provide value for money to the Indian consumers.

What is the global footprint of Transsion Holdings?
We cover more than 40 countries across the world, and last year, we sold around 60 million units, and this year, we are expecting to sell 85 million units. Our majority sales come from Africa.

What are your expectations from the Indian market?
India is among the fastest growing economies and holds huge potential for us. We do not have any short-term goals; we are here for the long-term. From the beginning, we would like to focus on marketing strategies, consumer insights and also bring local talent. We have our trusted ecosystem on all the fronts of technology from software, hardware to Internet.

You must have done research before entering India. How do you plan to access the Indian market and consumers?
We are focusing on consumers, which are at the bottom of the pyramid. Our focus is on tier-3 and tier-4 consumers. In our market analysis, we found that people in these towns prefer phones with bigger memory, multimedia features, loudspeakers, camera and Internet. Our features phones have features like IM and Chat. We have also designed a chat phone for India, which can work and be accessed across platforms. This service already has 400 million users in Africa. This would be similar to WhatsApp.

Is Transsion Holdings going to set up a unit in India for manufacturing iTel phones?
We have an assembly unit in Delhi NCR — a joint venture between an Indian and a foreign partner. But we would like to bring our vendors and start manufacturing here. We would also love to set up a technology park. By 2017, we should be able to set up our own assembly line in India.

How do you plan to promote iTel in India?
We have had discussions with Reliance — which is going to launch its 4G network in India — for making our services more affordable. We want to reach to last mile consumers in every remote corner of this country.

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