An Interview with Mr. Kevin Xu, CEO, Zopo Mobile
“Through strong product competitiveness and absolute price advantage along with constant brand promotion and publicity, we maximized our visual presence in the market, making our brand stand out among the competition.”
–Kevin Xu, CEO, Zopo Mobile
As India transforms itself into one of the fastest-growing smartphone market powerhouses in the world, chinese smartphone makers are making a beeline in launching their products in the India market, depressing prices and forcing Indian mobile makers to rethink strategies. At this backdrop, Chinese mobile maker ZOPO entered the market with the launch of its premium handset "Speed7" followed by “Speed 7 Plus”. The company came up with its new “Color” series in December 2015 and recently announced the launch of its new smartphones in India called “Hero 1”, which is available through both online and offline sale and on a majority of e-commerce sites.
Behind this success story is ZOPO's charismatic CEO Mr. Kevin Xu. Under Xu's dynamic leadership, ZOPO has achieved a maverick brand status as a Smartphone maker with inbuilt capacities and depth in development, production, marketing and service of mobile intelligent terminal products. ZOPO also became the first company to manufacture and deliver a Linux Sailfish OS smartphone to the Indian market. With its ongoing development, ZOPO has reached several different markets, officially and through local distributors. Having established a firm footprint in the country, ZOPO has hinted at many new devices that are in the pipeline.
In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now, Mr.Kevin Xu, CEO, ZOPO Mobiles, bares open an in-depth perspective on the category and business of ZOPO Mobiles, his vision, and key India strategies & priorities. Edited Excerpts…
Q. As one of the leading players in the smartphone ecosystem, how has Zopo Mobile managed to penetrate the highly competitive smartphone market in India?
Ans: Zopo Mobile has been at the forefront of developing and manufacturing innovative smartphones, giving us and our products a technological edge over other competitors. We witnessed the potential growth opportunity of our brand in the Subcontinent since its arrival as a vital market in the smartphone industry. Naturally, emerging markets such as this attract lot of attention, giving many brands a chance to customize their offering according to the territory's market trends and increase their visibility among prospective consumers. Through strong product competitiveness and absolute price advantage along with constant brand promotion and publicity, we maximized our visual presence in the market, making our brand stand out among the competition.
Q. How has been the journey for your brand in India so far?
Ans: We started our brand's online operation in India on August, 2015. We targeted E-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal for promotion and sales of our products. So far, we have seen positive growth of Zopo in the Indian market and we have also started are offline sales since last year december2015. AT the same time we do understand the importance of offline stores in India considering that major chunk of the Indian population still buys offline. We have plans to open more than 1000 brand retail stores pan India which will be instrumental in facilitating the offline sales of our smartphones, maximizing our reach to valued customers.
Q. Since India is becoming one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, many Chinese smartphone brand are entering the Indian market, depressing the prices and forcing Indian mobile makers to rethink strategies. What is your strategy to take on competition in India market?
Ans: We have years of rich industry experience in this field and our technological advantage gives us an edge over other competitors. Our strong product and brand publicity & promotion has helped in making Zopo Mobile a pioneer in delivering high-tech and affordable smartphones, catering to varied needs of our customers.
Q. What are the major trends in the Indian smartphone market now?
Ans: Methodical research conducted in line with local market demands have provided in-depth knowledge about prevalent trends in the Indian smartphone industry. One major demand in the Indian market is that of 3G & 4G level smartphones, low-end & entry-level smartphones, and high-end technology products that are being launched to lead the Indian IT industry.
Q. After Zopo entered Indian market with the launch of its premium handset "Speed 7" followed by "Speed 7 Plus", last year, the shipments of smartphones have jumped 29 per cent to 103 million units. How do you view this surge in demand which is equally matched by a crowd of smartphone suppliers?
Ans: Zopo's "Speed" series smartphones "Speed 7" and "Speed 7 Plus", have been immensely popular in the Subcontinent. The demand for our products have enabled us to stand out from the competition and maximize our reach to a wider audience. The Indian market is witnessing constant inflow of various smartphone suppliers who are trying to exploit possible brand expansion in a new territory. This kind of market penetration is assisting in growth of the Indian smartphone ecosystem, creating greater future opportunities for the same.
Q. As a fast-growing player in the smartphone sector, where would you like to be by 2020?
Ans: By 2020, we aim to make Zopo one of the biggest and well-established smartphone brands in India. We are also planning to set up our own manufacturing units, with average annual sales of our products reaching over 1.2 million.
Q. What constitutes your key market strategy in India? Do you plan any significant market expansion in near future?
Ans: Currently our marketing strategy in India involves both online and offline visibility. We are now mainly relying on offline mediums to expand our reach in the market, like opening around 1000 brand retail stores in the country. Our next step is to invest in TV and print advertising, for which we are planning to bring onboard a celebrity to endorse our products.
Q. Which smartphone is the highest grosser for ZOPO in India?
Ans: Zopo’s biggest sellers in the Indian smartphone market are SPEED 7, COLOR C1, and COLOR E1.
Q. What level of channel engagement happens at ZOPO for smartphones, especially for offline sales?
Ans: Our distributor arranges sales promotions and product launch conferences on the city and state level. In addition, Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia, founder & Chairman of ADCOM and our exclusive distributor for India organizes teams on the state and city level for the offline sales channels.