Rentala wants to rely on the nimbleness of a start-up, rather than taking the conventional approach. He wants to focus on strengthening distribution.
While, Nokia has an established e-commerce channel in Europe, penetrating offline and online distribution channels in India is crucial. However, the emergence of brands such as Vivo and Oppo had made the job difficult, he added. Instead of penetrating the market with high margins and discounts, Nokia will offer products that are value for money.
“The dynamics of the market are changing constantly and consumers, operators and manufacturers play crucial roles. We are focused on sustainable growth. Constant fluctuations are neither good for us nor our partners,” he said. Despite competition, the firm has managed to rope in over 100,000 retailers and 510 exclusive distributors.
HMD partnered Foxconn in 2016 for manufacturing handsets locally.
It is staying away from entering in-house manufacturing as that will increase pressure on its newly founded base. As the government hikes the import duty on components making assembly costlier, HMD is now exploring ways to increase local value addition by assembling key components in Foxconn’s plant in Tamil Nadu.
Although consumer trust is declining across sectors due to data theft, data leak from handsets and the rise of fake news, Rentala sees an opportunity for Nokia.
“There could be a few positives for us. In times of uncertainty people go for trusted brands. Thus consumers might go for Nokia even unconsciously,” he said.
Nokia has managed to enter the top-five list in the feature phone market within six months of its comeback. In the December quarter, its share remained at 6 per cent, behind Reliance Jio, Samsung, Micromax and iTel.
Ajey Mehta, vice-president and country head of HMD, is now eyeing the top spot. He said the job would not be easy. Nokia has been brought back as the principal sponsor of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the current edition of the Indian Premier League to reach out to the masses. According to Mehta, the aim is to send across the message that Nokia is back with Android smartphones.
“KKR has a fan base of 20 million on social media and we will be leveraging that. Our focus is not only to create awareness. We want to increase the conversion rate of potential customers,” he said.