Meanwhile, electric vehicle startup Ather got a booster shot from its largest backer to continue with its expansion plan
Declining Chinese smartphone share
About 72% of the smartphone shipments were from Chinese brands for the quarter ended June 30, a notable dip from 81% share in the quarter ended March 30, according to market researcher Counterpoint Research. It attributed this decline to the supply crunch faced by smartphone makers like Oppo, Vivo, and Realme as well as the rising anti-China rhetoric.
The overall smartphone shipments fell 51% to just over 18 million units, since the manufacturing facilities and sales were suspended during the first 40 days of the lockdown.
Winners and losers
- Samsung was the biggest beneficiary in terms of clawing back market share, displacing Vivo to secure the second spot. The South Korean smartphone maker recorded a 26% market share in the April-June period, compared to just 16% in the first quarter of the calendar year.
- Losers include Realme that saw its share drop to 11% from 14% in the first quarter, Oppo’s share dipped to 9% from 12% in the first quarter while market leader Xiaomi’s share saw a marginal dip to 29% from 30% in Q1. Vivo’s share remained flat at 17%. Read more.
Samsung however lost the top slot in India’s premium smartphone market (Rs 30,000 and above) to the Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus while Apple continues to be a leading brand in the ultra-premium segment (Rs 45,000 and above).
Apple’s Make in India push
Apple is also doubling down on its manufacturing plans in India, by starting to make its flagship iPhone 11 at the Foxconn plant near Chennai. This is the first time Apple is manufacturing a top-of-the-line model in the country.
The company may also export the India-made devices, as it looks to reduce its dependence on China amid the souring relationship between the Asian country and the United States.
Apple is looking to shift nearly a fifth of its production capacity from China to India and scaling up its local manufacturing revenues, through its contract manufacturers, to around $40 billion over the next five years, ET reported in May.
Apple’s second-largest contract manufacturer Pegatron had recently registered a subsidiary in India. It is currently in discussions with multiple state governments to find land to set up factories after which they would import plant and machinery, a person familiar with the development had told ET. Read more.
Ather Energy funding
Ather Energy has raised Rs 84 crore in fresh funding from its largest backer Hero MotoCorp, in an extension of the $51 million Series C financing from May last year. Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, one of the company’s earliest angel investors, had led the round by pumping in $32 million into the firm.
What’s the plan?
Currently present in Bengaluru and Chennai, Ather plans to expand to 20 cities by the end of next year and set up a new manufacturing plant in Hosur, in Tamil Nadu. This plan will help the electric scooter maker ramp up manufacturing to 100,000 units on an annual basis, which can further be expanded to 500,000 units when demand improves.
Ather has also narrowed down its product portfolio to a single model called the 450X, after discontinuing Ather 340 late last year citing low demand.
The big picture
Electric vehicle startups have been hit the hardest by the virus outbreak as they had invested heavily in growth but have hardly been generating any cash, according to a recent report by Avendus Capital.
However, the two-wheeler EV segment could benefit from the pandemic, as consumer preference will shift towards personal mobility in the short term, it said.
Bytedance‘s potential edtech bet
ByteDance is in talks to potentially invest in Mumbai-based education technology firm Lido Learning, as it looks to get a foothold in India’s rapidly growing educational technology sector.
This development comes at a time when the Indian ed-tech sector continues to see massive interest from global financial and strategic investors due to the increased digitisation of education amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Edtech firms such as Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, have scooped up over $700 million in recent months
A potential investment from ByteDance will be intriguing, due to the scrutiny it is facing in India and across the world. ByteDance-owned TikTok and Helo were part of the 59 Chinese apps that were banned by the Indian government last month due to national security concerns.
The country’s foreign direct investment norms were also changed in April, following which all investments from countries that share a land border with India, including China, would have to seek government approval first, as opposed to automatic approval earlier.
Read our previous coverage:
Backend soldiers in the Covid-19 fight
Several employees at datacenter providers have stayed within the premises for over three months of the lockdown in order to keep them running after the government declared data centers as essential service.
Many companies have spent between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore on staff safety and site maintenance initiatives. At least 40 data centers across major metros like Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Chennai kept critical staff within the premises to minimise the risk of employees getting exposed to Covid-19
Datacenter providers have been able to offset this cost due to a sudden surge in demand for data storage and computing capacity from companies who have gone online to engage with their customers. Most commercial data centers saw the business grow by 80-100% in the last four months. Read more.
(Illustrations and graphics by Rahul Awasthi)