I know what you are thinking right now. What is this guy talking about?
My name is Bhupendra Khanal, I run a company headquartered in the United States and sell my products globally. I am a Nepali married to an Indian, and a resident of India for more than 13 years.
The background was necessary to make you understand that I do not propagate state protectionism and or harbour any failed concept of communism in my mind. I am a free market supporter, lover of quality products which are produced anywhere and by any company of the world. I drive a Volkswagen Polo and my favourite brands include Adidas, Speedo, Sony, Airtel, HDFC Bank, MakeMyTrip etc.
Now, let me tell you a story
It was June 2013; I received a box from Zen Mobile as a gift. It was a Zen Ultraphone. I had to use it and share my experience with them. They probably chose me as a social media influencer or a blogger, which does not matter.
I was a big fan of Sony and was happy using a Sony Xperia phone. I had bought two other Xperias and gifted to my family members. I was a happy Sony customer, having bought two Sony Vaio Laptops too. I faced some issues but Sony’s amazing customer service kept me with them.
As I had not paid for the Zen Ultraphone I hardly valued the device. But I had a good feeling about the company and product; the name sounded great. I thought of using the device for a month. It was a dual SIM device, which I had never used before. It helped me carry one device while travelling between nations. A positive point!
Using an Indian mobile
While I used the device, I noticed that people were looking down at me. Several people told me on my face – ‘which mobile are you using it doesn’t even have a name on the front?’
When I told them, they exclaimed – ‘how can you use that dude? Go for an iPhone, Xperia or Galaxy?’ I laughed and ignored their advice.
I wanted to tell everyone how amazing this device was. My experience was actually at par with Xperia and it never gave me any problems. It had a bigger screen and a long lasting battery. No one actually asked my feedback. Everyone had the notion that Indian companies cannot make great mobile phones.
My stance changed
I came home and asked myself – what is the problem with this phone? Is the problem with the brands which do not spend enough to create a legacy? Or is it in the minds of the people who consider anything Made in India inferior?
The bigger worry I had at that time was – people might be doing the same thing for my product. They might just go and use Salesforce or Oracle, and not even consider using my products. This is not fair.
I deserve a fair chance. And if that’s true, Micromax, Zen, Xolo or Karbonn deserve a chance too.
Decision and use
After thinking for some time and evaluating the pros and cons of my Xperia vs Zen phones, I decided to keep the Zen phone. That day, I felt proud of the product and since then I have been defending it.
I feel quite embarrassed that the Indian phones do not have branding at the front. Blame it on our hypocrisy.
I am using the Zen phone for the last 10 months now, it is amazing and robust. The in-built camera can do with some improvement but I can’t ask for more from a piece that has a market price of INR 13,000.
Micromax, it’s time for you to bring the brand in the front. Everybody is wowed by the Hugh Jackman ad. It’s time that people are wowed by the product, brand and experience now.
We should buy the best product. There is no second thought. But we need to give a fair chance to the Indian products. So next time you go out to buy a mobile phone, you should compare the amazing phones that Indian companies have produced. Micromax Canvas series is actually amazing.
Not to forget, Micromax has crossed the billion dollar mark, and is also in the process of filing an IPO. It deserves some support and appreciation from the entrepreneurs’ community in India. Just a thought!
I am soon going to change my phone; don’t know which way I go. But I will be evaluating some of the best options in the market in my price range.
Will you do the same? Share your thoughts.
Bhupendra Khanal is CEO of Simplify360 Inc., the social business intelligence company. The company is now head quartered in New York and have branch office in Bangalore. The product is sold in over 100 countries directly or through partners