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We are putting Indian users first with our phones, says Poco India GM

India Toda Tech recently had a chat with Manmohan C, Poco India's General Manager on Poco's journey through the COVID-19 lockdown and its future plans for India.

Highlights

  • Poco is coming up with an all-new India-first smartphone series.
  • The Poco F2 Pro is not coming to India as of now.
  • Poco currently wants to focus on smartphone and accessories.

Poco is one of the most happening brands in the smartphone segment and if you get a chance to talk to the company, the obvious question that comes up is: "When is the Poco F2 coming?" India Today Tech too had the same question when it got a chance to ask Poco India's General Manager Manmohan C. Poco did answer us but not with an answer we were waiting to hear. However, Manmohan eagerly gave out a lot about what's in the pipeline for its fans and community.

In this short interview, Manmohan speaks a lot about how Poco fared in the COVID-19 lockdown era and how the recent developments in Indian sentiments regarding Chinese-origin products have made the small team at Poco clarify its intentions of putting India first and foremost. Manmohan also talks about challenges from the competition and Poco's plans of getting into other product segments.

When is the next Poco phone coming and will it be the highly-awaited Poco F2 PRO?

Poco F2 Pro was launched globally, however we do not have plans to launch the Indian variant of it as of now. We recently teased the launch of a new Poco phone coming to India, which I can confirm will be an India-first, new line of phones. We are planning to launch this somewhere around next month.

Poco X2 got rave reviews from critics and consumers. How have the sales been, despite the increasing prices?

Since the time Poco X2 was introduced in the market, we have received an overwhelming response from our customers and fans, owing to its competitive feature set, and of course the 120Hz screen. In fact, since the lockdown lifted, we are witnessing a pent-up demand for Poco X2. As per the recent reports, we have actually been the largest selling brand under the INR 15,000 -20,000 price segment on Flipkart. Poco X2, despite the price hike, has been a bestseller.

Currently we're at a place wherein our supply chain systems are working day-in and day-out with an aim to fulfil the demand and meet customers/market expectations. With every feedback that we receive, we aim to refine the user experience, and bring innovations that truly matter. Poco X2 was a new experience for the market, and we will continue bringing such products in the market. We are positive that our customers will immensely benefit from these innovative features and make the most of the Poco smartphones and devices.

Lately, brands like Motorola and Realme have come up with Poco X2 rivals. How do you plan to keep competition at bay?

The demand for smartphones, as we continue to see, has been high. With this as context, we have clarity on how consumers perceive the product, based on the reviews that were observed during the sales course of Poco X2. There is certainly a level of competition in the market, and it is something that drives the brands to perform aggressively across the sector.

We at Poco believe in focusing on one specific mechanism at a time and ensure the best outcome. We ideally differentiate from other brands because we believe in performing at one aspect extremely well and make certain of the hygiene on all other parameters to suit the needs of the consumers at its best.

Has the lockdown affected sales? What did the company learn as an emerging brand?

It definitely had an impact on the sales, as the Indian government's decision of not considering electronics and smartphones as essentials came as a challenge. Therefore, because of this, we were not able to operate business during the lockdown, especially during the initial phases. Currently, post the lockdown 4.0 and with unlock one coming into picture, things have started coming to normalcy and we have started working at a customary pace. Given the fact that we were functioning more like a start-up, with a smaller team, we have managed to be agile and adjust in our ways of working, basis the measures that have been suggested by the Indian government. This period gave us some more time to rethink and go back to formulate our strategy of working further on our developments.

Anti-Chinese sentiments are at their peak. How is Poco coping up? Will there be more of "Make in India" as well as "Designed in India" initiatives for future?

As you'd know, we have been very much centric to Indian market and consumers here in India. In 2018, the global launch of Poco F1 took place in India and Poco X2 was also launched in India early this year, with an idea to re-launch the brand with India at the core focus. In terms of operations, the entire Poco team functions in India wherein the way of approach towards the brand is directed to ensure that we're able to fulfil the needs of our fans/community across the country.

We know that Poco is going to get into audio products. Will it explore other categories such as smart TVs, IoT, home appliances, computers or others?

To begin with, in terms of product market fit, we're in a phase where we're exploring progress across various segments. Also we believe in the philosophy of everything you need and nothing you don't, which helps us envision the further growth of the brand. Through this we can scrutinize our position in the market and further experiment with various customer segments of various price points and see if it turns out to be credible to maintain a sustainable business going forward. Once we are able to crystalize on the segments that we can foray into, it will be easier to look forward to other bigger product categories.

As for other categories, we will definitely consider each one of them at a certain point in time. However, right now, the focus remains smartphone and smartphone plus (categories that aid in smartphone usage).

Poco uses MIUI but are there plans to go the stock Android route with Android One? Stock Android is what performance seekers want in phones.

Poco has always aimed to double-down on the optimization of software for our products. While Poco is well known for the hardware, we are still working on the software support that we have been providing. The baseline which is the MIUI is something that we leverage, because it has grown along with customers over time and has been stable since then. Adding a surface of features has always been on the game from our end, for instance, we have Poco launcher, vlog mode and more in Poco devices. Similarly, there are other additional features that we keep adding, in terms of camera UI, performance and more.

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