Xiaomi, Obi No Match For BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY): CEO Chen

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) sees India as a potential market for its smartphones after Indonesia. However, there is a huge presence of many domestic and Chinese brands already in India, which pose a serious threat to BlackBerry Ltd‘s success. Recently, two new handset manufacturers, Obi and Xiaomi, entered the Indian smartphone market, but BlackBerry Ltd’s CEO does not consider them to have enough potential to compete with the Canadian firm.

Obi, Xiaomi cater different segment

Both Obi and Xiaomi (known as the Apple of China) launched their handsets in the Indian market with competing features at lower prices than those charged by BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), which makes them a preferred choice for the Indian customers, majority of whom are middle class people looking for superior features at an affordable price.

When asked if this was affecting the sales of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) handsets, the Executive Chairman and CEO of the Canada based handset maker told PTI, “We don’t consider the players you named as competitors since they play to a lower end market and do not pose a threat across our broad set of capabilities.”

BlackBerry pricing justified

The prices of the new BlackBerry devices are higher than the expectations of the customers, and this could be one reason that even though the devices are ultra-powerful with superior specs, they fail to attract larger section of people. To this Chen says that the value delivered by BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) devices is way higher than the others and the price charged by the company is very much competitive. Pointing to BlackBerry Z3, he says the features and benefits are impressive and hence the price charged is not only justified but attractive too.

Sourced from various e-commerce websites, the price of BlackBerry’s Z3 model is found to be in the range of Rs. 14,860-15,950 (around $250) and the other model Z3 is in the range of Rs.12,599-18,499. Mi3 smartphone, a huge success in China, has been launched by Xiaomi in India for Rs. 13,999 (around $240) is known as the Apple of China. Obi has launched its flagship handset, Octopus S520, in the Indian market for Rs. 11,990 only. Both these companies have priced their handsets lower than BlackBerry.

BlackBerry is struggling to revive its handsets business, and is forced to reduce the prices of most of the models in India such as Z30, Z10, Q5, 9320 and 9720.