Gionee Communication Equipment Co Ltd is a leading Chinese multinational manufacturing mobile phones. The company which launched its products in Nepal in September 2014 has been doing quite well in the Nepali market, given the fact that it hasn’t been even a year since it entered Nepal. Gionee’s President William Lu was recently in Kathmandu to announce relief to the earthquake victims. During his stay in Nepal, Lu informed a group of journalists about Gionee’s presence in the Nepali market, branding strategies and future plans. Excerpts:
Compared to other mobile brands, Gionee is relatively new to Nepal. How has it established itself in the market ever since its launch in September 2014?
There are many smartphone companies in the market. But, the presence of our product in the Nepali market is very good. We are present in many locations. In Nepal, our product is being sold in at least 600 retail stores, and we are planning to extend that number to 1,000.
The main reason for this is that, we invest a lot in R&D in every year. We spent $80 million last year in R&D. We also use new and sophisticated technology in the factory. That is why our productsare competitive in the market.
During your early days in Nepal, Gionee said it planned to become one of the top three brands in Nepal within a year, and to become number one in the second year. So how close are you to that target?
I think because of the earthquake,in the last two months, business was down. Many shops were closed. I think that at the end of this year we can reach there.
Do you have any plans to manufacture Gionee phones in Nepal?
Right now, we have established our factory in India. So currently, we don’t have any plans.
Where does Nepal fit into your global market target?
If we look at the current market size, Nepal is very small. But after the Chinese market, our focus has always been on South Asia.
What is your strategy in marketing and branding in Nepal?
Actually in the last two quarters we spent lot of resources on supply chain placement. Our main strategies are to work more closely with our local partners. Until now, we have only focused on our own production and distribution channel. But now we are planning to scrutinize every dimension.
Some groups have a negative impression about the quality of Chinese products. How do you plan to sell your product by coping with this challenge?
I believe in the quality of the product. We entered the Indian market in 2012. At the time, even Indian people had the same impression of Chinese products; they were reluctant to accept it. But now, after two years, we have become a leading brand in India. Now people compare our products with Samsung and Apple.
You said that you are now planning to focus on low-price phones. Does that mean the high-end phones are not successful in the Nepali market?
The local price of an ES7 is Rs 37,999. This in the Nepali market is very high, but we have to admit that customer acceptance rate is very good. Our phones are available from Rs 7,000 to Rs 45,000. But, now we are trying to manufacture the high-price phones at lower costs.
What makes Gionee stand out in the market?
Firstly, the quality of the product. Low power consumption, new software and attractive design are other things that make us stand out in the market. Another reason is that we have spent a lot in advertising. We don’t compromise in advertisements. Just last year, we sponsored the Indian Premier League’s Kolkata Knight Riders.
Do you think you are on the right track to become one of the largest mobile companies in Nepal in terms of advertisement and marketing?
I think we have very good prestige in the market. Our main aim is to ensure that the Nepali consumer is highly satisfied with our product. We will launch the Gionee Marathon M5 phone with dual battery capacity of 6020 AH in Nepal by August. The challenge is not in the market, the challenge lies in our own team. I have to admit that the competition is great, and we need to focus more on efficiency.