Just as it promised a few months ago, Indian phone-maker Micromax today started operations in Russia. The official launch in the country brings with it two of Micromax’s Android-based phone models – the premium Canvas smartphone series and the cheaper Bolt phones.
The Indian brand is all set to launch 14 products in its first stage in Russia, and is aiming to be among the top four phone brands in Russia by the end of this year. In its home market, Micromax has succeeded in being India’s second biggest Android phone-maker, just behind Samsung.
Micromax’s launch in Russia is done in partnership with local distribution firm VVP Group. VVP has a strong logistics network, warehousing capabilities, and plenty of experience of retail and transportation management systems across the former Soviet Union. All of that should help Micromax as it seeks to battle Samsung in the country.
Russia has 34 percent smartphone penetration across the population at the moment, compared to just 14 percent in India. This is the Russian market right now:
Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma hinted at more products launching in Russia in the future in today’s announcement:
As we look to take Micromax to key international markets, we are excited to announce our foray into the Russian mobile handset market which has immense potential not only for smartphones and features phones, but also for innovative tablets and data products.
We have carved the vision for ourselves to be the first Indian hardware brand to be global and set our footprint with Russia as the first developed market to venture into.
Micromax will have over 60 service centers in Russia by the end of January.
As with other phone-makers, Micromax needs local content on its smartphones. For this, Micromax is seeking to join hands with Russian web companies and other popular services. That includes social network Odnoklassniki, free video and music service IVI.ru, globally popular messaging app Viber, and other big-name sites like Facebook and Twitter. Those deals will bring pre-installed apps and more services into the phones.
Vasily Sibirtsev, the chairman of VVP, explained the group’s immediate aims with Micromax:
Our immediate goal will be to build a very strong and robust distribution network to capture a significant share in the Russian mobile handset market. We will be working aggressively to strengthen our presence in the retail space across over 9,000 sales points in the country backed by an efficient service infrastructure.
Do you think Micromax can replicate its Indian success in Russia? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
(Editing by Steven Millward)