New Delhi: These are interesting times in the price-sensitive Indian smartphone market where one Chinese brand after another is entering the fray like winged insects swarming frantically at light sources during the rains — only to disappear soon.
Amid all this, a new trend has emerged where certain smartphone leaders have taken the swords out in the open, going beyond just teasers and making social media platforms a new war zone — giving users more dope to gossip around and create memes and jokes. Leading the pack is Xiaomi’s India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain who has seen a fruitful 2018 when his company broke all records and beat its rivals throughout the year.
The 2019, however, may have a different story to share. Manu Jain’s first Twitter outburst in 2019 was against Chinese smartphone brand Realme where he hit out at Realme 3 Pro that features Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, saying this is older than Snapdragon 675 used in Xiaomi’s latest device Redmi Note 7 Pro. Madhav Sheth, the CEO of Realme India which became the fastest vendor to sell six million units after its debut in May 2018, reacted, saying Xiaomi is “insecure” of its success in the country.
“Someone is afraid,” Seth tweeted. As retweets picked up pace, the original tweets were immediately deleted. Manu Jain’s worry can be understood from the fact that Realme clocked seven per cent market share in India in the first quarter of 2019. Despite losing its turf in India a little, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi retained its top slot in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, garnering 29 per cent market share, according to Counterpoint Research.
Xiaomi’s India shipments declined by 2 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) as it had recorded 31 per cent market share in the same quarter last year. Realme continued to figure among top five brands for the second successive quarter while Vivo’s market share reached its highest-ever level in India in Q1 2019 (Manu Jain, however, spared Vivo in his tweets). “We are targeting to sell at least 15 million handsets this year and I believe in sales numbers,” Madhav Sheth, Chief Executive Officer, Realme India, recently told IANS.
Xiaomi, this time joined by Taiwanese smartphone maker Asus, took potshots at OnePlus earlier this week. While Asus was subtle, Xiaomi took a direct swipe: “Congratulations OnePlus, we heard about your new flagship. Flagship Killer 2.0: Coming soon”. Asus only talked about the battery capacity in its latest ZenFone 6. Realme is working on to collaborate with 20,000 multi-brand retail outlets across 150 cities in the country.
In December last year, superstar Amitabh Bachchan sent a panic tweet about his Samsung smartphone going kaput for a while when Xiaomi’s Jain joined the conversation, and offered Big B to switch over to a Xiaomi device. Interestingly, Bachchan endorses rival brand OnePlus in India. Who is next on Manu Jain’s tweet radar only time can tell, but social media platforms have become a new ring for smartphone makers to battle it out in India.
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