It is good to read success stories about startups but failure stories help you more as there are some valuable lessons to learn from the fall of others. Indian smartphone market is very competitive and reaching the top of this market is not an easy task.
Micromax is one name that has seen all the days of Indian market in a very short. With this article, we have tried to put some light on the reasons due which this promising mobile brand is seeing the dust of this profit-making market.
Before being a separate entity, Micromax was Nokia’s distributor under the brand name of Micromax Informatics. Its main business was Payphone. Once Nokia sold the payphone business, Micromax started importing Chinese phones, rebranded them and sold under Micromax brand. Soon the Chinese vendor saw the potential of Indian market and they started selling their new phones under their own brands with low margin.
There was a time when Indian businessmen were just focussed on profits rather than innovation. A similar approach was followed by Micromax as the company did very little innovation and just repackaged the Chinese phones. During 2014–2015 CEO Sanjay Kapoor build an R&D centre in Bengaluru, hired 80–90 engineers to build software, UI. The founders had no interest in such things and once Sanjay was thrown out from Micromax, we all know the result.
The Jio effect
Most Indian brands including Micromax didn’t have any idea that 4G will capture Indian market so quickly. 70% of Micromax’s phones were 3G and it took months to catch up with other brands and become 4G ready.
Resisting to change
Micromax always targeted Rs 5000-10,000 mobile phone market in India. This price range has some very competitive brands which are very difficult to beat. The company never tried to be in the premium phone market which is a profitable segment. Launching Micromax Turbo in the mid-range segment didn’t help as it was too late to do so.