Interview with President of Gionee

“Gionee should be the most loved mobile brand by Nepali customers and for this customer satisfaction is a must”

 William Lu is the President of Gionee Communication Equipment Company Ltd. He has been shouldering the responsibilities of Gionee Research and Development, brand marketing, overseas marketing, and e-commerce among other. Gionee introduced Elife S5.1, the slimmest phone till date which holds the world record and Gionee is the third largest global smartphone company, which paced its way into the Nepali market in September 2014. Lu spoke to Surendra Tandukar of THT Perspectives about the performance of Gionee in the Nepali market. Excerpts:

How do you see the Nepali market for Gionee smartphones and what are your expectations from this market?

Today smartphones cover merely 30 per cent of the overall mobile market in Nepal. But, for Gionee, 80 per cent of the market is smartphones and 20 per cent is feature phones. It is because our portfolio in smartphones is much better. Though the mobile market size in Nepal is small, if we go deep, it is possible for us to take 20 per cent of the market share, which is still big for Gionee.

How has Gionee performed in Nepal?

As of the last three quarters, the progress is satisfactory. Till date, we have sold around 50,000 units of mobiles in the domestic market. We have been doing a business of around Rs 60 million per month in the Nepali market. We aim to make a turnover of around Rs 800 million to Rs one billion by the end of this year. By value, Gionee stands at the fifth position at the moment and we aim be in the top three by the year-end. By next year, we hope to be at number two and that means we will be close to Samsung. Moreover, our target is to lead the Nepali market by the year 2017. Of late, however, the entire market has been affected by the deadly earthquake.

There are dozens of mobile brands available in the market. So, what is the market competition like?

It is true that the mobile market is flooded with dozens of international brands including Indian ones. But, when it comes to competition, we don't see much as the Indian brands are nowhere close to competing with us. So far, we can say that Samsung is our only competitor.

What is your market strategy to survive in this market?

The first and foremost thing is our local partner (Teletalk) should be strong along with other sub-dealers. I think, we are satisfied with around 80 per cent of our sub-dealers and we need to improve the quality of some 20 per cent of our sub-dealers. Moreover, we should focus on our retail shops. Currently, we have more than 600 retail mobile stores and we aim to expand that up to 1,000 within the next three years.

What are international trends for smartphones is the industry seeing?

Talking about the international mobile market trends, we see that the European and US market is almost stagnant now. Meanwhile, China along with the Asia Pacific region and Africa are emerging market with high potential. Like many emerging markets around the world, the Asia Pacific region is also using smartphones as the first medium to access the internet. And I see continuity to this trend mainly because the mobile users are constantly upgrading their phones or buying new upgraded ones.

Of late, India has been seen as one of the biggest market players smartphones. The other important trend in the smartphone market is the ever-increasing demand for mobile internet.

What are the challenges facing Gionee in Nepal?

We do not see much challenges for Gionee to do business in Nepal. However, our only concern is to establish our local partner a strong in the Nepali mobile market. To ensure it, we will be investing around 20 per cent of our turnover on brand promotion. We will be also supporting some premium events in Nepal.

What are your future plans for the Nepali market?

Our main target it to overtake Samsung and become the number one mobile brand in Nepal.

But, the most important thing is Gionee should be the most loved mobile brand by the Nepali customers and for this, customer satisfaction is the must. We have to ensure that the Nepali customers are highly

satisfied with the product quality and service provided by Gionee. We will be launching the Gionee Marathon M5, a dual-batttery phone with a capacity of 6020mAH in the Nepali market by August. We are also planning to introduce yet another much-awaited Gionee Elife E8 smartphone in the domestic market. Moreover, we are also looking to introduce feature phones in Nepal.