China's largest appliance maker, Haier, launched its mobile phones in India's booming telecom market and hopes to sell 500,000 units in the first year of operations, a company official said.
India's wireless market is the world's fastest growing, and sales for handsets working on the widely used Global System for Mobile communications platform are expected to top 30 million units in 2005, analysts say.
Many global handsets majors such as Nokia , Motorola , Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and LG Electronics Inc. have a strong presence in India.
"The mobile market is growing at a break neck speed," said T.K. Banerjee, president of Haier Appliances India Ltd. "We're aiming at a volume of half-a-million GSM handsets in the first year."
Haier, which also makes televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and microwaves, has a growing presence in India's cut-throat $4.0-billion consumer goods market that caters to the needs of an estimated 300-million-strong middle class.
The company, based in China's northeastern city of Qindao, expects GSM sales to contribute between 2.0 billion rupees (approx. U.S. $45.8 million) to 2.5 billion to overall revenue in India during 2005, Mr. Banerjee said.
He said handset sales are expected to surge 60 percent a year, in line with the industry growth.
"Overall business will have a turnover of 5.5 billion rupees and this will grow at 60 percent," Mr. Banerjee added.
Haier will sell seven handsets priced between 3,654 rupees (approx. $84) and 14,940 rupees in the price conscious Indian market, where a refurbished phone sells at about 1,000 rupees.
The company plans to launch Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) models as several operators also offer mobile services based on the CDMA platform.
Haier will import the phones from China, where it has a production capacity of 15 million handsets a year. (Reuters)
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