Innovator, pace-setter and path-finder, that’s what describes him best. Chanpreet Singh graduated in Science from the LBF College of Advanced Medical Studies in Mumbai and then went on to get a Master’s Degree in Nautical Science. Singh started his professional life with a French shipping company. That association lasted for 15 years. His next stint was as a Project Director with an Indian software company for three years which was providing software to companies providing training for ship sailing.
Subsequently, Singh made up his mind to launch his own brand mobile phones. This prepared the ground for starting up the company, SMA Impex Private Ltd back in of 2008 to launch Rage Mobile Phones in India. Although Rage Mobile Phones are manufactured in China, Captain Chanpreet Singh is personally involved in the design and development of the products which offer Indian consumers the best of quality at the most affordable prices and are backed by an extremely efficient and effective service centre network.
Captain Chanpreet Singh has a very clear cut vision of what Rage Mobiles stand for. To quote him: “We are not scientists but we understand technology. We are not artists, but we know what looks good. We are not market leaders either, but we know the market”.
It is this clarity of thoughts that has taken the Rage brand places. Singh looks after activities such as designing and Procurement, administration, commercial, logistics, accounts and marketing. Singh also has extensive experience in the field of Procurement, sales and marketing of mobile handsets in India.
In a free-wheeling conversation, Singh answers a volley of questions pertaining to mobile telephony to Jayashankar Menon. Excerpts from the Interview:
JM: What are your India gameplans?
Singh: Rage is being sold in Latin America and now focusing India including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. We have already launched few products in Indian Market and will come up with various products in coming years. The main idea is to gain as customers as possible.
JM: How do you operate in India?
Singh: We have our Head Office in Delhi and 17 branches in every city. We have around 210 people as a team for our organisation in India.
JM: As Sunstrike has all key verticals across the mobile eco-system right from device manufacturing, network operating, distrubution, wholesale and blue chip organised and unorganised retail, will you also be replicating the same in India?
Singh: Yes, we will be able to replicate the same as we have entirely a different team to focus on smart phones market with all the specifications and qualities. We make sure those different teams functions for different verticals.
JM: What is the impact your mobile phone brand Rage has created in India?
Singh: Rage is a very well known brand in Rajasthan. It is a household name in Rajasthan and is a respected brand in channel community. We are able to sell our products from good e- retailers. Although we are trying to capture the market in rest areas by launching new products.
JM: Why is Rage more appealing amongst rural and semi urban segments?
Singh: According to our target segment, our target market is more features oriented. By launching our new products in the market we want that feature oriented sector should use feature oriented phones that too in affordable price.
For the urban sector we just launched smart phones few months back.
JM: Can you talk about Smartphone series, Optima Smart in India?
Singh: Our smart phone series, Optima Smart has already been launched in Latin America, Dubai and other markets in the Middle East. The new avatar will be in in the Indian market by March this year.
JM: Also talk about your plant in Shenzhen, any plans to set up a unit in India?
Singh: Our plant in Shenzhen, China is fully equipped. When we talk about a unit to be set up in India, then I would say that right now we don’t have any plant in India because the ecosystem of India is not familiar with the manufacturing of mobile phones. We are in talks with many companies who can help in manufacturing mobiles in India. As of today it is not decided, it will take time. Still now it is on paper.
JM: What is your India specific strategy?
Singh: Our strategy is to provide feature oriented mobile phones to rural sectors and smart phones to urban centres. Technology advanced tablets will soon be available in coming months.
JM: Sunstrike has 150 distributors, 6,000 retailers and two billion customers. Any expansion plans?
Singh: I would be very happy to say now we have 200+ distributors. We are increasing the number of retailers year on year, as our customer base is also increasing. We have aggressive expension plans. Soon we will expand our operation including south India for Optima Smart market as Rage series is already there.
JM: Why you are focusing only on the road less traversed by other players, that is penetrating the rural and semi-urban centres with low cost products?
Singh: It is our part of strategy to start from outside and then come inside.
JM: What is your company’s year on year growth? What is the target for 2014?
Singh: We are registering a double digit growth till date and we will continue to increase the counts. As the industry is growing, we are putting our 100 percent efforts to grow in the market.
JM: You do export Rage brand to markets such as Europe and the Middle East. Any further plans of foraying into different geographies?
Singh: Yes we have plans to focus in Central America, Europe and the Middle East. We are also contemplating on selling our products through e–commerce websites.
JM: What is the investment you had made in India so far? Will you be investing more this year?
Singh: Any ambition cannot be fulfilled until and unless we have aggressive investment. We have aggressive plans to invest more so that we will be able to achieve our ambition.