Asus to contract manufacture smartphones in India

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Taiwanese handset maker Asus will start contract manufacturing in India soon, having identified the country as one of its top three smartphone markets, thanks to its mobile phone subscriber base of a whopping 980 million, a top official has said.

“We should able to zero in on a partner be it Foxconn or any manufacturer by the end of third quarter of this calendar year and actually start delivering the phones by the end of the fourth quarter,” Peter Chang, country manager at Asus India, said.

“We are looking to make 70 percent of our smartphones in India,” Chang told IANS. “But we want to focus on the product and not on the manufacturing, so we have taken the decision of contract manufacturing.”

Asus had launched its ZenFone smartphones business in India 18 months ago and has sold nearly 1.6 million units. “We aim to capture at least 5 percent of the Indian smartphone market and be among the top four by the end of next year,” Chang said.

Currently, Asus has around 2-percent share of the smartphone market in India.

The handset-maker, which has 400 employees in India, is also looking at expanding its channel coverage. It has 120 exclusive stores in the country. Besides, it is also looking at research and development centres in India.

Asus, whose top markets continue to be Taiwan, India and Indonesia, also sells its smartphones in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey and the US.

“India had the biggest fan base till about a week back when Indonesia took over. But India is a big contributor and saw the biggest amount of participation in the development of the Zen user interface,” the Asus executive said.

“In India we are also launching ZenTalk — a forum for our customers to keep connected to Asus with whatever problems they have on their devices. This is to tell users that we care for them and we value their feedback which will make us come up with better products in the future.”

Also, as a part of its strategy to penetrate the market, Asus is looking to tie-up with local content and service providers to engage users, he said. “We are in talks with a lot of local apps for our smartphones line-up.”

Asus’ India strategy also includes personal computers and notebooks. “We are looking to enter the enterprise market in India, as our consumer base is already strong. We are focusing on the private sector in verticals like education,” Chang said.

“We are also targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs) and will engage with 100 partners to target more enterprise players,” he added. “We are not considering the public sector as of now, but we will start by the end of the year.”

The Taiwanese handset maker had made a profit of around Rs.935 crore in the last financial year, out which 40 percdent revenues came from smartphones.

“We are focusing on smartphones and a sizeable amount of revenue has come and will continue to come from this vertical of the business,” Chang said. Asus has also hinted that it wants to enter the wearables market in India with the ZenWatch 2 and a fitness band.

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