LAVA keen to tap demand for affordable smartphones

The Asian mobile phone manufacturer sees potential for its feature-rich phones in the Mideast

Lava International, one of the leading Asian mobile phone manufacturers, sees huge potential in the affordable smartphone segment.

It is estimated that around 60 per cent of the smartphone business in the Middle East comes from the price bracket of less than $250 (Dh918).

"Our strategy is to focus on this price point. We are focused on consolidating and growing in this price segment," Mohammed Khizar Ulla, head of business for Middle East at Lava International, told Khaleej Times during an interview at Gitex Shopper.

Today, majority of consumers are reluctant to spend more money on mobiles. This is due to the availability of affordable devices with the functions of a premium device, Khizar Ulla said.

"Lava will be focused on this price segment by providing quality products with good features such as dual SIM, 3G/LTE, screen size ranging from 4.5 inch to 5.5 inch, camera 2+5/ 5+8/ 5+13/8+13 MP, equipped with memory of 8+1/16+2/16+3 and powered by Android at an attractive price range. Our devices are priced below $200," he explained.

With over half a million units sold in the first half of 2016, the mobile phone manufacturer sees further demand for its feature-rich phones in the region.

According to statistics, Lava ranks among the top five locally among handset brands and is seen as a fast-selling phone among local retailers.

At Gitex Shopper, the company is showcasing its latest range of mobile phones with exciting offers through its partners and daily draws.

"We consider Gitex to be an important event to showcase our range and build our brand equity. Our presence and participation in Gitex will add value to our brand and will help us build brand equity," he said.

He added: "The Middle East is an important market for our business and global market share. The UAE in particular contributes to 70 per cent of our business. Along with other feature-rich smartphones, we cater to this region with a specific 'S' series device that has no camera and no GPS. These specific devices are addressed for security zones and cultural sensitivity requirements - a demand and gap we want to meet."

Talking about the company's strategy and expansion plans for the region, he said: "For 2016, we have plans of expanding our distribution width across the GCC and achieving a five per cent volume share in the region."

The company has six manufacturing facilities - two in India and four in Schengen, he said, adding: "Proportionate to the demand, we will invest more on R&D and manufacturing."

Lava International entered the UAE in February 2015 with two retailers, and later the company expanded its regional operations in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain in July 2015. "Recently, we have commenced our operations in Saudi Arabia. Our distribution width has increased to more than 800 retail stores across the GCC," he informed.