After Karbonn Mobiles, now Intex Technologies’ phones too have started disappearing from retail shelves as even bigger Indian handset makers find it hard to stay afloat in a market increasingly dominated by major Chinese smartphone makers.
Once the second-largest domestic handset maker after Micromax, with peak market share of almost 13%, Intex has put its manufacturing plant on the block, signalling its exit, people familiar with the matter said.
This leaves just M (Micromax) and L (Lava) of the ‘MILK’ Big 4 home-bred handset makers, but they too are in poor health. MILK players had just 3% share of the smartphone market at March end, as per Counterpoint Research.
At their peak, in mid-2015, MILK had a combined share of about 40% in the Indian smartphone market. Now, major Chinese brands hold more than 65%.
Intex hasn’t unveiled a device for several months and its newly constructed plant in Kasna, Greater Noida — set up with initial investment of Rs 500 crore — is up for sale, sources said. A senior industry executive said the 20-acre Kasna plant — which was supposed to entail investment of Rs 1,500 crore for manufacturing of mobile phones and would have produced 40 million phones a year in full capacity — the plant was no longer needed as Intex was not making any models. “I don’t see the company emerging as a mobile phone player again,” he said.

Intex Technologies director Keshav Bansal confirmed the sale, but insisted the firm is still in handset business though “scale has reduced”. “Intex’s land in Kasna is one of the prime properties in that entire region,” he said. “We are exploring various opportunities including JV or exit.”

A retail industry executive said Intex had only one or two models of feature phones still in the market, that too of residual stock.

Indian brands barring Reliance Jio have not kept up with Chinese competition and lost whatever ground they had in the brutally competitive smartphone market. Analysts attribute it to lack of innovation in features and pricing.

“Lack of refresh, strong competition and slow growth of the entrylevel segment where they (Indian brands) had strong share were some of the reason for their decline,” said Anshika Jain, research analyst, Counterpoint. “Still, Micromax and Lava are the only brands that can do well in the entry level smartphone segment.”

Source: gadgetsnow.com