Marketing With People And Not At Them — New Mantra Of Micromax’s Patriotic Second Innings! Obsessed With Chinese Smartphones, Will India Buy In To The Emotional Lure?
Remember when Chinese apps were banned but not the smartphones? The process of redemption has begun.
On 12th May 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi characteristically channelled the nationalistic sentiments of Indians toward a plan very similar to the Swadesi Movement in 1905, Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Indian entrepreneurs and business tycoons instantly maneuvered to capitalize on the ambitious project that citizens were receiving with open arms and hearts. And this was exactly the opportunity to re-enter the market that one brand – Micromax – had been looking for.
Micromax, India’s indigenous smartphone brand, announced its return to the market with a branding fanfare that was truly staggering. Rahul Sharma, co-founder of Micromax, announced the launch of the new locally manufactured smartphone ‘In’. Once India’s number one smartphone brand, Micromax failed to keep up with the Chinese competitors in the market and was soon wiped out. However, in the wake of self-reliant economic progress envisioned and implemented by the government, the company once again decided to make a comeback.
Anti-China sentiment in the country is paving a successful road for many Indian brands. The launch of the locally manufactured Micromax ‘In’ smartphone is expected to provide stringent competition to Chinese smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
Locally manufactured Micromax ‘In’ smartphone aims to take on the domination of Chinese smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.
The company has decided to invest around Rs. 500 crore in expanding local manufacturing and research and development for the smartphone. This news comes after the government, on Oct 6, approved ten mobile manufacturing companies for PLI (Production Link Incentive) to give impetus to electronic manufacturing by indigenous brands under Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. One of these mobile manufacturing companies is Micromax which will not avail 6% incentive on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India for a period of five years.
Micromax has decided to invest around Rs. 500 crore in expanding local manufacturing and research and development for the smartphone.
Building local manufacturing replacements of the Chinese giant
The anti-China rhetoric was powerful enough to compel a ban of 59 Chinese apps on June 29th, but not feasible enough to lay the same hurdle before the Chinese smartphone giants. India’s three-fourth smartphone market is in the grip of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, with Xiaomi alone controlling 30.9 percent of the entire market (which amounts to $8 billion) in June. Beyond smartphones, the telecom equipment manufacturing market is under the monopolistic control of China. 60 percent of the Indian telecom equipment market is owned by Huawei and ZTE.
Watch: Micromax’s comeback
With such a dominating influence, it is nearly impossible to bid Chinese brands farewell unless there is a feasible and practical replacement, otherwise more than half of the Indian population will be rendered smartphone-less in the absence of high end features at the most economic price possible.
It is impossible to bid Chinese brands farewell without a practical replacement. Else, more than half of India’s population will be rendered smartphone-less.
PLI under Atma Nirbhar Bharat is the government’s move to prepare feasible electronic manufacturing replacements and march the Chinese brands slowly towards the road that leads out of the border, back to Beijing.
Micromax back in the game but will it be successful?
There was a time when Indians essentially betrayed their home brand ‘Micromax’ to buy and promote Chinese smartphones. Once the number-one name in the sector, Micromax died an unsung death after Chinese brands spoilt people with an abundance of choice. The government didn’t especially care to rescue its brands from oblivion. Thanks to the stinging resentment against China, The Indian government finally decided to act.
While Micromax bore some of the blame, failing to keep up with the 4g technology and making itself redundant, how high should expectations be of the brand? If the new smartphone the brand is planning to launch comes with an edge over its Chinese competitors, the answer should be high. However, if the brand is only planning to sail on the waves of fleeting pseudo-nationalism (which is largely endorsed, Twitter has it) then the company should brace itself to face further setbacks in the future.
If Micromax is only planning to sail on the waves of fleeting pseudo-nationalism, then the company should brace itself for further setbacks in the future.