Karbonn Mobiles targets $1-billion topline by 2016

Karbonn Mobiles targets $1-billion topline by 2016

Plans to make in India; eyes wearable foray this year

Karbonn Mobiles targets $1-billion topline by 2016

 Karbonn Mobiles, the handset brand owned by United Telelinks and Jaina Group, is looking at an ambitious growth trajectory to clock $1 billion in revenues by the next year and enter the competitive wearable space by this year end.

Interacting with Deccan Herald, Karbonn Mobiles chairman Sudhir Hasija said the Indian mobile phone market is undergoing dramatic transformations with smartphone penetration growing high.

“Karbonn Mobiles is very bullish about the future of the Indian mobile market which is trying hard to reduce its dependence on imports. Even though the Indian market was sluggish in the first quarter of this year, we do hope that with aggressive marketing and our export strategy we will reach the $1-billion mark next year,” he said.

According to a recent study by Ficci-EY entitled 'Speeding Ahead on the Telecom and Digital Economy Highway', India’s domestic mobile handset market is expected to cross 300 million devices in 2015.

The company assembles semi-knocked down (SKD) units from China, and does the finishing touches at its two assembly lines in Noida and Bengaluru.

“We have a plan to manufacture in India and have already invested Rs 100 crore. We are scouting for partners for building the ecosystem and negotiations are going on. We will have our full-fledged factory within one-and-a-half years’ time,” he said.

Karbonn, which sells feature and smartphones under multiple brands, has already brought out more than 100 variants, and plans to bring out 20 more models in this year.
On the export front, he said the company is currently sending consignments to 15 countries.

“We are selling in Europe, Latin America and SAARC countries. We will expand our footprint in 10 more countries by the end of this year,” he said.

When asked about the arrival of upcoming Chinese smartphone players like Xiaomi, Huawei, Coolpad, Gionee, ZTE and OPPO in the country, he said there is space for every player.

“Being a late entrant to the mobile business in 2009, we had to face the heat of the competition even during that time. We withstood it and has now became the third largest selling Indian brand,” he said. The Bengaluru-based company generated around Rs 4,000-crore in revenue in the just concluded financial year, Hasija said.

Wearable dream

He said the company will enter the wearable segment soon. “We want to focus on the health aspect of the wearable segment and research activities are progressing in the right direction. We hope to unveil it by the end of this year,” said Hasija.

On the technology front, he said the company is planning to launch retina recognition smartphone soon in the market and will go for more high resolution cameras.


Karbonn means Karnataka-born

Karbonn Mobiles Chairman Sudhir Hasija describes himself as a self-made man. He told Deccan Herald that after high school, he got into the business of selling electronic and electrical components. “I have supplied instruments for TV antenna, cables, and chipsets in South India. Thus I got a hang of the ESDM sector. Later, we got into the mobile production business where I found an opportunity,” he said. When asked about the name of the Karbonn brand, he said it reflects his intimacy with Karnataka. “I gave the name Karbonn as it signifies Karnataka-born. I am very excited with the technology prowess and legacy of Karnataka,” he said.

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