By Anushruti Singh & Suksham Sharma
Shashin Devsare, Executive Director, Karbonn Mobiles shares business insights and the focus on Indian languages for Karbonn.
Voice&Data: What’s latest at Karbonn?
Shashin Devsare: We are in for the long term and understand the requirements of affordability, localization, and the relevance of services offered. Karbonn is working on 8 different languages – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali. These languages are selected based on the coverage of the Indian population. We cover 70-80% of the population.
We have already launched a device called ‘K9 Smart’. The USP of this device is that it supports the input/output of the local languages, the users were able to see the menu in the local language, and the keyboard was there in the local languages, but that was not enough. So, we handpicked certain smart telephony services which were driving data traffic and what we find is 46% of our service consumption was happening through local languages.
So, we partnered with Google to introduce Maps and YouTube in local languages and also with CricBuzz as cricket is religion for all of us. Then, we have partnered with Newshunt in regional languages as well. These combos went really well for us, and we were surprised with our post-sales analysis. More than 70% of the users had actually activated their local language on their device, and more than 85% of the users were data users, which means there is a big appetite for the consumptions of such services but you need to take the initiatives well and reach the customers.
Voice&Data: Tell us about Karbonn products and distribution channels –Online or Offline. What works for Karbonn?
Shashin Devsare: Karbonn products are available through 1500+ distributors across 40,000 outlets that we have mapped. Besides this, our products are available on online platform too. The traction from online is below industry average currently, but we want to reach out to larger population. We focus more on the offline channel because online still has some limitations. Around 80% of our sales are done offline and 20% online. Our aim is to be present in right from about Rs 3,500- Rs 4,000 range upwards to Rs 10,000+ in smartphone price categories.
Voice&Data: What next after languages?
Shashin Devsare: We are focusing on innovation in multiple directions. We will be working on Digital ID based services, e-government services; also we are looking at bringing usage of technologies like AI and VR to the Indian users in simpler ways. We believe that language-based services need to be encouraged lot more.