Haier

Chinese electronics brands revive marketing efforts in India

Chinese smartphone and electronics brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Haier, Oppo and OnePlus are reviving their marketing and advertising spends in India.

Product launch strategies, festive season planning, and investment plans had been put on hold for almost a month, after the fatal border clashes between India and China in mid-June. Vivo, Realme, Xiaomi and OnePlus are reportedly focused on expanding local production and highlighting “make in India” in their advertising campaigns and product packaging.

“Chinese brands were waiting for supplies to normalise and sentiments to improve-…which have happened now,” IDC India research director Navkendar Singh told ETBrandEquity. “Next five months are crucial…that’s why they are stepping up their marketing spend…and it’s a test for these brands…whether anti-China sentiments really hurt them or not,” he said.

Chinese electronics and smartphone companies together spend over Rs 2,500 crore (US$335m) annually on promotional activities, including advertising, social media and retail activations. As of the January-March quarter, Chinese smartphone brands together controlled 80% share of the Indian market, around 40% for smart television and 6-7% for home appliances, according to industry estimates.

China’s top four smartphone brands in India – Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme and Vivo – extended their market dominance in the second quarter by increasing their share to 75.1% from 66.1% a year earlier, according to research firm Canalys.

Despite a significant drop in shipments, China’s Xiaomi was still the market’s top dog in the second quarter of 2020. For the three months through June, it controlled 30.9% of India’s smartphone market with 5.3 million shipments, representing a year-on-year decrease of 48%.

Recent tensions between China and India, seem to have had little impact on Chinese smartphone brands’ popularity, though most of the latest tensions occurred at the very end of the quarter.

Canalys analyst Adwait Mardikar attributed the Chinese vendors’ success to their strategy of driving a “Made in India” message to consumers and positioning their brands as “India-first”. He also credited the Chinese brands’ low prices that gave them an edge over Samsung, Nokia and Apple.-Warc

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