We recently interacted with Sunil Raina, President, Lava International and spoke to on a variety of topics ranging from Make in India activities to the new products in the pipeline. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
There is a lot of buzz in India that people should use products from Indian brands. What do you think about it?
Prime Minister’s call to be “vocal for local” is a step in the right direction, but unfortunate Indian brands have not reached a level which have should have by now. Having said that, perception for Indian brands has changed significantly among consumers and brands now need to focus on improving the quality of their products and the start using the latest technology.
At the end of the day, consumers want the right product, they will not sacrifice experience for just having a product from an Indian brand.
How can Indian brands, like Lava capitalize on the PM Modi’s call for self-reliance?
Consumers are ready to buy Indian products, but Government and Brands have to work hard to scale up Make in India program and deliver quality products.
The governmentcan support till a level and post that brands have to deliver. Indian Government is providing an opportunity for Indian brands to make a mark.
We are grabbing the opportunity and scaling up our manufacturing capabilities. Other Indian brands can take a cue from us. We would love to see more and more Indian mobile brands in the market.We are improving our manufacturing and R&D capabilities in India.
Lava needs to compete with Chinese mobile brands, but you don’t seem to have the edge over them?
Yes, that is a fact, Chinese smartphone brands have a price edge. But that’s not going to be permanent. We are gearing up to challenge brands like Realme and Xiaomi and take market share from them. It will happen slowly and steadily.
Lava is shutting down its factories in China. Will it be a phased exit.
Yes, it will be phased exit, and we are hoping the complete exercise will be over in a year during which we will scale up our manufacturing capabilities.
What is Lava’s current status of manufacturing in India?
In the feature phone space, we source 60% of the component locally or inhouse and plan to source 100 percent locally by next year. The smartphone will take time.
What is holding back component manufacturing in India?
Component manufacturing will happen only after the government push. They need to plan a strategy to attract investment and also see to it that policy is not changed quite often.
Government has to study incentives provided by the different countries to boost local manufacturing and improve upon it to attract companies which are in component manufacturing.
Any new smartphones in the pipeline?
We will be launching two new smartphones before Diwali. They will be best in their price segment.
What about accessories?
Post Lockdown we will be launching a TWS earphone for around Rs 2000 and a power bank.
Watch the complete Video Interview