Sachin_Batra_8-03 Interview

2017 will mark a turning point for ZTE : Mr. Sachin Batra, Chief Marketing Officer, ZTE


We caught up with Mr. Batra to know about ZTE’s plan for 2017 in India

As a new CMO what will be your strategy for ZTE in India?

ZTE will be taking a hybrid online-offline approach with some phones being sold exclusively through an e-commerce partner. We are in process of partnering with one of the biggest e-commerce retail brand and will be making the announcement soon. We will have a mix of products, from phones to smart devices, at different price points, available online. We are aiming at 3-4% market share in 2017 in smartphones.

What are the device launch plans for ZTE in India in 2017?

We are planning to launch 8 new smartphones in the half year of 2017, out of which two smartphone devices will be launched online and the rest will be launched offline. We are currently focusing on launching the Blade series smartphones which will be priced below Rs. 15,000 and will focus on bigger battery and camera performance, the two most important features consumers look for while buying a smartphone. Furthermore, these devices would be 4G-enabled and most of them would be Volte devices.

Well ahead, we also plan to launch smart home solutions, projector and other wearable categories. We are creating new partners and training them to ensure we have an extensive presence across the country. ZTE would have 25,000 retail touch-points by leveraging this initiative in the next few months. Our products will be available through e-commerce portals and retail stores across the country, which will give our consumers a chance to experience the mobile devices before making a final purchase.

In 2016, we have seen Chinese brands aggressively approaching the Indian market and gain a lot of ground in all the segments? What will be ZTE’s answer to this?

Chinese brands are redefining the domestic smartphone market with superior quality products and associating with various mainstream properties for high visibility and share of mind. Their increased focus on a better build quality and powerful specifications to offer improved performance at low cost has changed the perception in the minds of consumers. India is a high potential market and even the rural markets offer plenty of growth opportunities. This is the ideal time for ZTE to enter the Indian market and slowly, after some point, it’s not just going to be about growing the pie, but taking a bigger share of it.

Why you feel that ZTE will make a mark in India in 2017?

ZTE is a technology brand. We will always have an edge over the counter, in terms of technology. ZTE has its origins in the telecom business, and its hardware is a driver of the Internet in India. And even if a consumer has never bought a ZTE phone, he might well have used a wireless router, hardware or data dongle from the company, carrying branding of one of India’s telecom providers. ZTE is the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the US. We aim to have that faith and connect with people.

What are the key strategies ZTE is focusing now?

ZTE’s primary focus was completely B2B category, but 2017 will mark a turning point for us as we will focus on B2C. We plan to launch innovative products in the Indian market at disruptive prices through ecommerce platform and simultaneously get into general trade. This will be our absolute hybrid model. ZTE wants to hit all parts of the market, but will not be playing the specs war. Instead, we plan to add features that can potentially enhance the experience of our smartphones.

Why is Axon 7 not launched in India yet?

Every market is different and India is a very diverse, interesting and challenging market. A lot of companies want to tap the Indian market potential. We want to focus on affordable to affordable premium category of smartphones this year and then plan to launch our flagship models here.

Tell us more about your home automation segment

We are planning to introduce ZTE’s smart home solutions that comprise of a suite of products for home entertainment, visual communication, home monitoring, family album, smart projectors and home network-attached storage (NAS). It is IoT-enabled and works on an Android app to control Wi-Fi-enabled appliances to create a connected home. The smart home solutions are lined for an early Q2 launch in 2017.