Karbonn Mobile Gives Up The Fight Against Chinese Brands; Files For Closure

In a big blow to Make in Indian vision, Karbonn has surrendered.

As per filings made by Karbonn with Ministry Of Corporate Affairs, it is clear that Karbonn is closing down, and thus, they have given up the fight against Chinese brands, which have mesmerized the Indian consumers since last 3-4 years.

Karbonn, which was once a prominent Indian brand, debuted in 2009, and at its peak, they churned out revenues worth Rs 650 crore per year. There was a time when the mighty Google had to partner with Karbonn.

Karbonn, along with other Indian smartphones brands such as Micromax, Intex, Lava had captured 40% of the Indian smartphone market as recent as 2016.

But then, the downslide started, and now, the company is winding up.

Karbonn Filing For Closure

We have accessed the filings made by Karbonn with Ministry of Corporate Affairs and discovered that the company has filed for closure.

In the company status row, we can see: “Under Process of Striking Off”

The company is registered under the name of Karbonn Mobile India Private Limited, and have 3 directors: Pardeep Jain, Sudhir Kumar Hasija and Potluri Rajmohan Rao.

The registered address of the company is in Greater Kailash, New Delhi.

This way, Karbonn has become one of the first Indian smartphone companies to close down in 2019, and officially surrendering to the Chinese onslaught.

Karbonn’s Recent Attempts To Salvage Business

Karbonn started its operations in 2009, and they were a big hit, especially with the first time smartphone users, and feature phone users, across the nation. Between 2012 to Q2 of 2015, Karbonn was rated among the top 5 smartphone brands in India and gave a tough fight to Micromax, which was the #1 Indian brand.

Before the decline started in 2015 end, the big 4 Indian brands: Micromax, Intex, Lava and Karbonn had captured 40% market share of the Indian smartphone shipments, and they had a stronghold in tier 2 and tier 3 markets.

However, after 2015, Chinese brands aggresively targeted the Indian market with excellent offers, world class engineering, and a 360 degres marketing campaign, which destroyed this grip of Indians smartphone brands, and pushed them back.

By 2018, their share had shrunk to a mere 13%, and now, it is less than 8%.

Last year, Karbonn has attempted to salvage their business, and market share when they acquired Gionee’s India division for a deal which was believed to be between Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore. At that time, Gionee India and Karbonn, both had a market share of 2-3%, and they together attempted to make a coup.

But it didn’t work out, it seems.

This year, in the month of February, news came out that Karbonn will pump in Rs 200 crore to reignite their manufacturing expertise, and planned to establish their ‘269th manufacturing unit in Tirupati’.

Karbonn Mobiles Chairman and ICEA Southern Zone Chairman Sudhir Hasija had claimed that their new factory would be established across 1 lakh square feet of space, and employ more than 1000 employees.

Chinese Brands Capture Indian Smartphone Market

As per the latest Counterpoint Research, Chinese brands have now captured a majority stake in the Indian smartphone market, and their onslaught is unstoppable. Out of 100 smartphones sold in India, 66 are Chinese brands.

While Vivo grew its market share by a whopping 119%, Oppo expanded by 28%.

Compared to 2018, share of Chinese brands has increased by 20%.

Xiaomi continued to be #1 Chinese brand with 29% market share, and this clearly showcases why Karbonn has filed for closure: There is no hope left now for the Indian brands.

The big 4 Indian smartphone brands: Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Intex had a meagre share of 8% in the Indian smartphone market last year, and analysts have already predicted that several of these smaller brands will shut down.

The closure of Karbonn is the start, maybe.

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