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HTC aims high while LG look low in India smartphone market

HTC has reiterated its stance that it wants to focus on the high-end of the India smartphone market while LG Electronics is reportedly making plans to increase its presence in the volume segments, according to reports coming out of India.

In February 2016, HTC global sales president and CFO Chia-lin Chang indicated that the Taiwan vendor would focus its India marketing and sales on smartphones priced at the INR10,000-30,000 (US$150-450) range and was looking to take a 10% share of the local market in that segment.

One year later, the vendor is now looking to grab a larger share of the highest end of the market. HTC told the Economic Times that the company had a 9-10% share by revenue in the INR10,000-20,000 segment in 2016 and this year wants to account for 10-12% of all segments above INR10,000, up from 5% in 2016.

This week, HTC launched its U Ultra and HTC U Play models in the India market priced at INR59,990 and INR39,990, respectively. The company will begin marketing the devices in India in March.

On the other end of the market, South Korean vendor LG Electronics will re-enter the entry-level segments (under INR10,000) of the India smartphone market in the second half of this year. The Economic Times cited LG as saying that previously the vendor simply marketed its global models in India but now realizes that the dynamics of the local market required it to develop India-specific models.

The entry-level segment accounted for about two-thirds of total market shipments in 2016.

However, LG has its work cut out if it wants to succeed in the low-end segments. Chinese brands have quickly grown their shipments in India, accounting for 46% of total shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from only 14% one year earlier, according to research from Counterpoint.

Smartphone shipments in India grew 18% annually in 2016, compared to 3% for the global smartphone market, Counterpoint added.