Gome, one of the largest privately-owned electrical appliance retailers based in Mainland China and Hong Kong, is entering the Indian handset maker through a partnership with Agaston Mobile, which operates through its brand, Tambo. Gome's India foray is its first global expansion outside China where it ventured into the handset business last year.
Beijing-headquartered Gome will invest $5 million to support its foray, and it will share resources with Agaston Mobile. Sudhir Kumar, CEO, Agaston Mobile India will spearhead Gome's operations in India.
"Gome's operations will be handled by Agaston. We are not making heavy investments for the new brand since they will be sharing our resources. We will have 50% common distribution. We will now have distributors that have expertise in the smartphone market. The brand will be offline focused like our Tambo brand," Kumar told ET.
Gome brand will operate in Rs 6,000-Rs 12,000 price category, while Tambo will continue to play in Rs 700-Rs 6000 price segment.
In the first phase, Agaston will launch the Gome brand in North-Eastern states, followed by a launch on West Bengal, Punjab and Gujarat beginning October.
“We are very excited to come to India. It is a market ready for benefiting from the greatest innovation. We hope to provide solutions that offer a new era of experiences, powered by technology... We are delighted to partner Agaston, which brings a wealth of experience, credibility, and strategic thinking that complements our approach," Sean Sha, CEO GOME Telecom said.
Currently, Tambo-branded phones are made by Agaston's two contract manufacturing partners, WeSun and Dixon. Gome-branded phones will also be made by these to manufacturers. Kumar, however, said that Agaston is planning to set up its own manufacturing facility in Noida in the first quarter of 2019. "We have our in-house R&D team in Noida. We now plan to design 2G printed circuit board in India," he said.
"Gome's expertise is to make technologically advanced products, which can be helpful for Tambo brand in a longer run," Kumar said.