“One of our main focus areas is to expand 5G across our portfolio. Last year we launched six 5G devices in our portfolio and we launched two exclusive models with a US carrier both of which were aiming for the most affordable price point. This gives us the scale to grow further in 2022…” Florian Seiche, Managing Director of HMD Global, told ET in an exclusive interaction.
HMD partnered with Reliance Jio last year to offer grants on four smartphone models. Seiche said the company “also sees good momentum on this and partnering with key carrier partners like Jio is encouraging.”
“We are seeing consumer finance become more and more important in different parts of the world to again help customers move from features to functionality,” he said, adding that finance options allow consumers to buy quality appliances.
He further added that HMD will focus on how to further deepen its ability to source locally, produce locally and enter into go-to-market partnerships for sales and marketing. “The Indian market is very competitive, so we need to look at all aspects of the process to bring the best value to customers.”
The company has started exporting its “Made in India” feature phone to the UAE and is also assessing smartphone exports from India.
“We worked hard last year and started exporting from India. Today, India is important for our local manufacturing strategy, not only for the domestic market but also for exports,” the leader said.
The company works with Lava International, Dixon and Rising Star to locally manufacture mobile phones and smartphones through factories in Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. Most of HMD’s smartphones are made by Lava and Dixon, while Rising Star makes feature phones for the company.
Seiche said core growth came from smartphones — 40% year-over-year growth in 2021 — which helped the company turn profitable.
“That (smartphones) is a clear driver and is also true for India. In 2022 it will be a growth driver for India. We could have done even more but there are still tensions in the supply chain. supply, especially at entry, but we expect to be on a strong growth trajectory for this year.
“It’s one of the biggest drivers of growth as companies focus on quality, security and scalability. There is a very rational decision-making process, so naturally we come out very strong,” he said.
(Reporter covers Mobile World Congress 2022 at Oppo’s invitation)