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India | Category Summaries: Mobile Phones

India ranks second after China in number of mobile phones. Of India’s roughly 907 million wireless subscribers, perhaps only 10 percent own smart phones. However, driven by the interest in data consumption, and aggressive marketing by many phone brands, smartphones are the fastest-growing segment of the mobile phone market.

The Indian smart phone market includes many strong international brands, such as Samsung, Apple, Nokia and LG, competing with a range of models, including their least expensive. Among the Indian mobile phone brands are: Micromax, Karbonn, Xolo, and Lava.

Having entered the market as low-price imitators of multinational brands, the India brands have achieved credibility, advertising features and emotional appeal as well as price, and implying their parity with global brands by engaging well-known brand ambassadors, like the actor Hugh Jackman, who has represented Micromax.

This more international image helps some of these brands build their export businesses, which are focused particularly on Southeast Asia, Russia and Africa. Many Chinese handset brands have entered India and sell affordable smartphones. These brands include: Gionee, Lenovo, OPPO, Huawei, ZTE and Konka.

In overall mobile sales, including feature phones, Samsung again enjoys a strong presence, along with Nokia, which is expected to benefit from investment by corporate parent Microsoft.

The mobile phone category is growing rapidly, but no brands appear yet in the BrandZ™ India Top 50.