Mumbai, Jun 24 - Even as its parent fends off crises back home and is losing both wallet- and mind-share globally, Research In Motion (RIM) India has said it will ratchet up its footprint to 250 cities by the end of this fiscal as it is confident of outgrowing the industry in the growth sweepstakes.
"When I took over last December we were present in 40 top cities, which rose to 80 by the end of March. We will take this to 250 locations by the end of this fiscal," RIM India managing director Sunil Dutt told PTI in an interaction here over the weekend.
Despite the Waterloo, Ontario-based Canadian parent RIM losing its grip on the market of late to more agile players like Samsung and Apple, over the weekend it launched the BlackBerry Porsche P-9981, developed in association with Porsche Design in the domestic market for a cool Rs 1.39 lakh apiece as part of its strategy to grow in this market fast.
The company has even been in news for outright sale in the recent past as market share and profits are heading south.
In contrast, RIM has been garnering more market share here with its pie going up by two notches last fiscal. As of March 2012, RIM had 15 per cent market share, up from 13 per cent in FY11.
However, in terms of the pecking order it stands at third, after Nokia and Samsung with 38 and 28 percent share respectively as of March 2012, according to data from the industry research agency CyberMedia Research.
But Dutt, who joined RIM India last December from HP India, is confident of doing better this year with a target of outgrowing the industry growth which is projected to be 40 percent. However, this is not even half the rate at which the smartphone segment grew in 2011, when it clipped at 87 percent.
"The domestic smartphone market is growing at over 40 percent this year, after clipping at 87 percent last year. I am sure we will be able to grow much faster than the industry rate," Dutt said, but refused to put a number, citing the silence period the parent company is into now.
Overall there are 18.3 million BlackBerry users in the country, out of which 90 percent are BlackBerry Messenger users, he said.
When asked about where does India stand in terms of the parent company's global strategy, Dutt said, "This is a very important market for them globally and within the Asia-Pacific region, India is one of the top three markets."
Though he refused to specify the ranking of the country among the three, it is reliably learnt that India is No 3 after Indonesia and China.
It can be noted that the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing smartphone market with the Q1 of 2012 shipment touching 37.3 million. Global smartphone shipments touched about 452 million in 2011, which is projected to grow 35.8 per cent to 614 million in 2012, as per CyberMedia Research.
Globally BB has over 77 million subscribers and sold over 180 million BBB smartphones till date.
In 2011, the domestic smartphones market saw launch of 150 models by over 30 vendors. Smartphone shipments touched 11.2 million units in the year recording an annual growth of 87 percent.
RIM, after 18 months of dilly-dallying, had set up a server in Mumbai this February, thus meeting the government demand for accessing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) data for security purposes or what the company calls as lawful access matters.
On the marketing strategy for the Rs 1.39 lakh BB Porsche phone which was launched here over the weekend, Dutt said, "We will not be selling this through the traditional channels as this phone is about power, style and aspiration.
"The discerning customers can order their phone to begin with and later on, we will soon have select outlets like luxe watch and accessories showroom located on the high streets," Dutt told this agency prior to the launch.
However, Dutt also refused to put a sales target for the new launch on the same grounds.
RIM started its India operations in 2004 offering and has two offices in the country -Delhi and Mumbai. Recently, it opened an Innovation Lab in Kochi Smart City to encourage innovation among the youth. In the past two years, the number of its programme developers soared to 30,000 from the country, from just 4,000. PTI