Poco plans India-first smartphones, gear

NEW DELHI: Poco, the smartphone brand recently spun off from Xiaomi as a separate entity, will roll out India-first smartphones and accessories across price segments, and sign a pact with its parent for after-sales and supply chain support, a top executive has said.

“All those devices that we launch will be launched in India first,” Poco India general manager C Manmohan told ET.

The only product the brand has launched so far is Poco F1, a smartphone with high-end specifications launched in 2018 at around Rs 20,000. It will launch its second smartphone, Poco X2, on February 4.

“We are currently working as a start-up with a small team,” Manmohan said. “We have started the process to become an independent legal entity in India.”

Besides smartphones, the company plans to launch allied accessories but will not look at developing a full-fledged ecosystem around its handsets, officials said.

Poco products will initially be available online and the brand will not leverage Xiaomi’s exclusive online and offline channels.

like Mi home and Mi preferred partners.

Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said Poco will take a leaf out of its parent’s playbook and will look at building a complete portfolio, instead of focusing on just one price tier, to build momentum in sales. “They will be looking at tapping users who are looking for upgrades,” he said, adding that 95% of upgrades are happening in the Rs 10,000-15,000 and Rs 15,000-25,000 segments.

According to Counterpoint Research, Poco had a 3.6% market share in 2018 in the Rs 15,000-30,000 price segment, which dropped to 1.1% in 2019.

Research and consulting firm techARC’s founder analyst Faisal Kawoosa believes that Poco will face a larger challenge than any other brand entering the market. “The challenge is of the legacy,” he said. “Poco’s comeback has to be phenomenally disruptive that justifies its active absence from the market.”

Kawoosa, however, said the market can accommodate new players.
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