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Pakistan bakery chain is cooking up something new – Android smartphones

Sheraz is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of AdClout and BizClout. He’s on Twitter as @sherazsaeedy.

Android in Pakistan

Pakistan will soon have a new, homegrown phone brand. While that’s not too unusual, it is surprising that the new phone is from Gourmet Foods, the well-known Pakistani bakery store chain.

According to sources close to the retailer, the upcoming Gourmet phones will launch in March, and will come in two flavors: Android or Java-based. The Android smartphone will come with 4.2 Jelly Bean. There are no official prices set yet, but the basic Java phone might cost as little as $15. The phones will be made by an as yet unnamed Chinese manufacturer. The company is expected to announce more details later this month ahead of the anticipated March launch.

Gourmet aims to sell 50,000 phones in the first six months of sales.

We believe that Gourmet will open mobile shops in major cities like Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, and also start up distributors in smaller cities. The experienced retailer, which began business in 1987, already has over 500 bakeries across the country. The chain can market and publicize its new products quite easily and on a large scale thanks to all these busy stores.

Pakistan Gourmet mobile

A Gourmet Bakery store (via Gourmet’s Facebook page).

Homegrown hero?

Gourmet Foods has diversified into new fields before, venturing into soft drinks, furniture, restaurants, ice creams, and even publishing, making it one of Pakistan’s best-known brands.

The retail giant has hired Umair Tayyab as head of marketing and products for Gourmet Mobile. Tayyab previously worked for Samsung in Pakistan, as well as at homegrown phone brand Qmobile. His experience at those two established phone-makers gives the project a greater likelihood of success. Speaking to Tech in Asia, Tayyab says that the team realized there are gaps in Qmobile’s and Samsung’s phone line-up, and he has plans and strategies that will cover those market gaps and help make Gourmet smartphones into things that consumers in Pakistan will want.

Gourmet won’t be the first retailer to venture into Android hardware. Late last year, rival UK supermarket chains Tesco and Aldi launched bargain Android tablets. Even earlier, 7-11 did the same in Taiwan.

Across Asia we’ve seen homegrown phone brands like Micromax and Xiaomi grow very strongly, selling tens of millions of smartphones per year and challenging the likes of Samsung and Apple in their home nations.

(Editing by Steven Millward)

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