Nokia India, the undisputed leader in the handset market in India is facing rising competition from home-grown players who have introduced me-too devices at much lower prices. In the latest earnings release the company introduced on 22 April, Nokia revealed its global operating profit was down 11 per cent as against 20 per cent last year.
However, D Shivakumar vice-president and managing director is not overly worried. In a chat with IDC's Priyanka Joshi, he explained how the company planned to take on the competition, with new devices and affordable mobile services.
Responding to a question about the emergence of the new players who have cornered 17 per cent share of the handset market, which should be a concern to the company Shivakumar said the company was not in India just to take the lion's share of the market. Rather it had consistently delivered devices relevant to consumers and added innovation to back its device portfolio. So, when the company launched music phones, it made sure there was a music service to go with these or when it launched business phones it gave free email and services relevant to users, he said. He added that standalone device manufacturers could not hold out on their devices alone.
''Consumers want more than just a plain-vanilla handset. And, Nokia is the only device manufacturer doing so right now. Nokia is still the world's largest mobile phone maker, manufacturing 108 million phones globally in the first quarter of 2010 - 16 per cent more than the same period last year.''
Responding to a question as to how the company planned to make a comeback in the sub-Rs5,000 and sub-Rs10,000 segments, which have seen a deluge of mobile devices from players like Samsung, he acknowledged there was a lag in launching sub-10K devices but the company has several offerings even as its competition launched a touchscreen device and others followed suit.
However, instead of hustling up devices the company had planed to launch five new handsets priced between Rs5,000 and Rs17,000 that would allow consumers free music for 12 months. He added that that was value addition and the company knew that 300 million users were looking to replace their handsets this year.