Panasonic reveals smartphone growth strategy

Panasonic may trim smartphone business in India
Japanese technology firm Panasonic aims to wrap up this year with Rs 2,000 crore revenue in India.

“We have always wanted to be in the top 10 brands in India. However, we are currently targeting sixth/seventh spot in the next six months to one year’s time, eyeing Rs 2,000 crore as turnover,” said Pankaj Rana, business head, Mobility Division, Panasonic India.

“Distribution is our core strength and currently 80 percent of the business comes from our distribution channel network and 20 percent from the online channel. Going forward, we believe online will grow up to 30 percent,” Rana added.

Last year, the company had nearly Rs 1,400 crore in turnover, with sales of nearly two million smartphones in the country. This year, Panasonic aims to produce and sell 3-3.5 million smartphones.

“Although the Indian market is now dominated by Chinese players, the good thing is that Panasonic has built a brand and customers want to remain associated with us. We are pitching Japanese product innovation and quality which is giving us good advantage in the market,” Rana emphasised.

To strengthen its position in the industry, Panasonic has joined the artificial intelligence (AI) bandwagon — a technology which, in the future, will shape the product interface and the way the consumer interact with their devices.

To give users an enhanced user experience with AI, Panasonic has launched two new smartphones that are equipped with “Arbo” — an in-house artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistant.

“With ‘Arbo’, we began positioning of intelligent phones and, because of this, we were able to spread our wings in the market very quickly,” Rana said, adding that for AI-based smartphones, the demand is such that the company is almost always out of stock.

The “Arbo”-powered smartphones are available on Flipkart. While Eluga Ray Max is priced at Rs 11,499 for the 32GB variant and Rs 12,499 for the 64GB variant, Eluga Ray X is available for Rs 8,999.

According to Rana, Panasonic is doing well in the northern region and this year, the company hopes to increase its penetration in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Before the festive season, the company is set to launch 10 new smartphones for its offline channel and five new smartphones for the online channel, in the price band of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000.

“We have a strong product roadmap for the next six months and will keep enhancing our position as an intelligent phone maker in the market by bringing in new features. This will be the key success mantra for Panasonic as we go forward,” Rana said.

Anuj Sharma / IANS