Lenovo-Motorola, India’s No 2 smartphone brand, is in talks with Indian and global e-payment providers such as Android Pay and Paytm, to integrate payment solutions into its devices, as mobile phones increasingly become the alternative mode of cashless transactions, more so after demonetisation in India.
In another strategic move, Lenovo will begin selling Moto Z and Mods, or accessory attachments, through a third of the 300 exclusive Lenovo stores in India, in a bid to target higher sale volumes. Two thirds of phone sales in India happen through brick and mortar stores.
“Since India is a top market for Lenovo-Motorola, we are definitely looking into the market for specific opportunities,” said Dillon Ye, vice president, smartphone business lead of Asia Pacific at Lenovo Group told ET.
“A global (payment) solution could be Android Pay, locally, there are multiple solutions like Paytm, etc. When the solution is mature, we will announce it (and) embed it,” he added.
While talks are on with multiple parties, Ye said that the company would be mindful about enhanced user experience and security while taking the decision to embed it into the devices.
Adoption of mobile wallets, and other online payment solutions such as Unique Payments Interface (UPI), has increased phenomenally in the country since Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were barred from November 9 – digital transactions have surged between 400% and 1,000%.
Although the move created a liquidity crunch which has led to smartphone sales nose diving for most players, Lenovo executives said that they had not been severely impacted as their customer base comprised largely of plastic money users.
“That is also why we are launching new products when others are not,” Sudhin Mathur, executive director at mobile business group at Lenovo India said. The group has launched Moto M, Note K6 and Yoga tablet within this week.
With a focus on the Rs 6,000 and above segments, Lenovo-Motorola aims to grow its smartphone market share of an overall 11.37% clocked in the September quarter, up from 9.09% in the June quarter, as per IDC data. The company trails market leader Samsung in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market.
Offline sales of Moto Z and Mods starting January, besides launch of Lenovo K6 Note for offline market beginning Wednesday will give it a leg up on competition, enabling it to increase revenue from the Indian market.
“In value terms, India is among the top contributors from revenue and volumes, and we’re confident that once we have the offline strategy, India will grow further,” Ye said. As of June, India contributed 10% to Lenovo Group’s revenue of $10 billion.
The company, which is the No 1 selling brand on online platforms, expects two-thirds of its annual sales to come from brick-and-mortar stores next year, similar to the ratio for the mobile phone industry.