For many tech firms, India can be a tricky market. Due to its size and emerging nature, as well as complex civilization and network of laws and regulations, as well as the diversity of local economies, there is rarely such a thing as a safe bet. For smartphone manufacturers, finding a middle ground between price and quality, as well as proper marketing techniques, is not easy in any market. Combining these factors makes it easy to see why smartphone OEMs are only recently starting to gain prominence in India. When the price and quality are just right, a phone can take off and propel a manufacturer to prominence. Motorola’s Moto E, Moto G and Moto X lines are some examples, as is the ZenFone 2 for Asus. Presenting a decent balance between low price and near-flagship build quality and specs, modern Chinese smartphones seem like the perfect way to test a market like India.
Chinese OEMs have been flooding the market, especially with the Indian government’s recent “Make in India” initiative, which allows OEMs to manufacture in India and create jobs in return for lower taxes. This creates jobs and bolsters the local economy, which leads to more sales and a more robust market. For many foreign vendors, it was the magic key to breaking into the one of world’s largest and fastest-growing smartphone markets. Five names from China in particular are giving the bigger names a run for their money and almost competing on level with local options. Those names are Lenovo, Vivo, OPPO, Gionee and LeEco.
Chinese leaders Huawei and Xiaomi seem like logical choices to lead the market, but the smaller brands with more flexibility are finding it easier to adjust their strategy on the fly to achieve better market penetration. As things stand now, the five named above stand to give even the biggest players, such as Apple and Samsung, a hard time. With a population of over 1 billion and only 30 percent market penetration for smartphones right now, becoming a key player in India early on in the game promises huge returns to whoever can pull it off, possibly for the foreseeable future of the market.