The Story of Micromax Mobile’s Meteoric Rise, by Co-founder Vikas Jain, TechSparks™ 2011 Grand Finale

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One of the biggest product technology successes this country has seen lately is that of Micromax Mobile, the mobile handset maker is already the country’s second-largest mobile phone seller. So it was only fitting that at the Grand Finale of TechSparks™ 2011, India’s flagship showcase event for product technology companies, the company’s co-founder Vikas Jain took the stage to a rousing reception.When Micromax launched its telecommunications operations, the Indian mobile phone market was dominated by leading international phone makers, including Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericcson and others. But the country was still missing a player who was catering specifically to Indian tastes and flavours, said Vikas. When Micromax began speaking to local customers to identify their needs, it only strengthened their conviction that even as most of the global giants were bringing some of their best-selling models to the Indian market, they weren’t addressing the local needs.

So, Micromax launched its first mobile phone whose key selling point was a battery that lasted 30 days. In a country that suffers from chronic power deficiency, this was an invaluable proposition, said Vikas Jain.

Explaining the company’s popularity especially in the low-end segment, Vikas said that value-for-money-proposition has always been the cornerstone of everything the company does. The company’s engineers, he reveals, are constantly pushing the limits by exploring what a mobile phone can do beyond voice, data and SMS.

This relentless focus on product engineering catering to local needs has served the company well. For example, it was the first in the country to launch a phone that supported two active GSM SIM cards at the same time. Today, a majority of Micromax phones boast this feature, even as competitors struggle to match its pace.Much of Micromax’s initial focus was on rural markets, revealed Vikas. This, he says, allowed the company to build an unparalleled network of distributors and retailers, that has become the key to its meteoric success.

Today, however, the company is making active forays into urban markets. Its first phone in this segment was the wildly popular Bling, endorsed by Bollywood actor Twinkle Khanna, which was built keeping in mind the style-conscious urban woman. The phone sold more than a million handsets so far in the country, firmly establishing Micromax’s arrival into the urban landscape.

Its next target group was the youth. For a group that thrives on 24/7 connectivity, the company released a QWERTY phone featuring several exciting social media applications and chat – minus e-mail. Today, Vikas said, the company counts 7 QWERTY models in its portfolio that support a range of high-end features, serving different market segments.So, where does Micromax go from here? The company, Vikas revealed, is actively pursuing opportunities in the tablet market. “Our friends at Intel are very interested in working with us on this!” he quips, pointing to Mr. Narendra Bhandari, Director of Intel Software and Services Group(A-PAC), in the audience.

But Vikas is equally excited about the possibilities offered by 3G connectivity. “We believe the next big change is going to come from the application ecosystem fuelled by high-bandwidth connectivity. People want to do a lot of things on the move.” For excited app-developers taking notes in the audience and elsewhere, he cautions “The apps that will do the best, however, are the ones that will serve the daily needs of the consumer.”

So for the Indian mobile phone user – here’s to some appy days!

We at YourStory.in are extremely thankful to Vikas for addressing the audience as Chief Guest at TechSparks™ 2011 Grand Finale. We are sure Micromax’s story inspired all the budding technology entrepreneurs at TechSparks™. And, we at YourStory.in sincerely hope that more such stories come out of India.

To know more about the finalists at TechSparks™ 2011, click here.

- Kaushik Satish

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