We are halfway through 2016. How things pan out for Panasonic so far and what to expect more this year from you? Also on the number of handsets to be released in India, market share?
This year is turning out to be great for Panasonic India smartphone business. In 2016, so far we have launched 15 smartphones. We will be launching 20 more models by the end of the year. All our 4G phones comply with India LTE bands and VoLTE. Currently, we have 3% market share and we aspire to grow up to 10%.
We have seen a massive investment by Chinese handset players in the last few years on retail, branding and products. How you do meet this competition?
Panasonic is also planning good investment in ATL and digital marketing of smartphones. We plan to invest INR 200 crore in the next 6 months in marketing.
Throw some light on Eluga series which got some good response from the market and on the Online platform?
ELUGA series of smartphones are focused on design and user experience. Earlier, ELUGA series of smartphones were very popular in Japan and Europe markets. Panasonic India has 3 series of smartphones: P, T and ELUGA. T is entry level series; P is mid-range and ELUGA is our premium range series.
Why most of your handsets priced in 10K to 15K category?
Actually, we are selling well in 10K to 15K price range. Most of our best selling phones such as ELUGA Arc, ELUGA Mark and ELUGA Turbo are in this segment, so we focus more on this segment.
Tell us more about your manufacturing partner Dixon and your Noida manufacturing facility?
Dixon is an old India ODM partner of Panasonic, which has been manufacturing TV and Home appliances for us. Taking the same relationship forward, Dixon has set up smartphone assembly factory for Panasonic, which is a state of the art factory set up with the assistance of Japanese standard & technology. Currently the factory is producing 2 lakh smartphone handsets per month, which we plan to expand to 4 lakh in the coming 3 months. Right now, 95% of the Panasonic smartphones are made in India.
These days every handset player is talking about IoT and ecosystem. How you are addressing this?
Panasonic Corp is a world leader in IoT. In India, Panasonic plans to enter IoT market in two segments: ‘personal health care’ & ‘home automation and security.’
Personal health care shall have devices such as Smart thermometer, Smart blood pressure meter, Smart blood sugar meter, Smart Oximeter, and Smart weighing machine. These devices shall be IoT enabled and collect all user data on cloud. From there, doctors and users can analyze. We think of building entire set of services using ODM, SW developers, hospitals and practicing doctors.
Home Security automation can have devices such as smart presence detector, which can detect any new presence in the premises and begin camera recording / send alert, etc. Smart biometric locks which won’t allow any unauthorized access and records / send alert for each access. We already tied up with Silicon Valley Stat up Peel Inc, to have IR-based smart remote control into our smartphones.
When can we expect a good premium handset from Panasonic to compete with S7 &S6?
Last year, Panasonic launched CM1 Camera smartphone. Specs are 4.7 inch FHD, Snapdargon 801, 2+16GB, 21MP Camera with Leica Optics. We couldn’t launch this phone in India because of high price like $1000. Now, we are developing the next version of CM1, which we plan to launch in India as well.
What is your forecast about coming trend in smartphone segment in India that will drive the next phase?
In India, 4G and VoLTE will drive the next phase. Also, we expect ASP of the smartphone devices to improve. Smartphone market size will continue to grow, while feature phone market size will shrink.