“The offline-focused brand will be launching as many as eight smartphones in the budget segment in 2019”

India continues to be a hotbed for Chinese smartphone brands aiming to cater to a market that’s still dominated by feature phones. One such company is Yuho Mobiles, which came into the news back in 2016 for making a Rs 500 crore investment in the country. However, we didn’t get to hear much from the phonemaker after that. But the brand didn’t vanish — it spent that time establishing a base in the country, and now wants to shift into high gear. 91mobiles recently got a chance to sit down with Country CEO and MD Captain Chanpreet Singh, along with Director Mr Wu Yiran (Michael) to understand the brand’s journey so far and its plans for the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. Here’s what we learned.

PS: the interview has been edited for the sake of brevity

On the journey till now

We started the interaction by talking about the brand’s journey in the country. To this, Captain replied “2016 was the year when we thought of starting in India. The company was incepted in 2017 and we launched three models initially – Y1, U1 and H1. However, due to demonetisation and ever-changing tax regimes, we were never able to zero in on our strategy.

Yuho Vast Plus

In the meanwhile, we’ve ensured that we have a decent channel / retailer base. Yuho has also set up manufacturing process in India.” Adding further, Mr Singh mentioned “now the basics have been established, we’re primed to become a strong player in the handset market. In fact, within just the last six to seven months, we’ve launched as many as five products.

On Yuho’s current smartphone lineup

Moving to the present, we asked Captain about the recently-launched Yuho Vast Plus (first impressions). He said “the device has been received well by retailers, and we’re also planning to launch another memory variant of the smartphone soon. The upcoming handset will ship with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and hence will be priced slightly below the MRP of Rs 9,499 of the 4-gig RAM variant of the Yuho Vast Plus.

Yuho Vast Plus UFI 14

On Yuho’s roadmap in 2019

When asked about Yuho’s plans for the year, Singh replied “we’ll be launching eight smartphones in 2019. The hero product in our portfolio would be a handset with the trending waterdrop notch, which will be available in two variants offering screen sizes of 6.1-inches and 6.5-inches.” These phones will be available in multiple storage options, with the launch to take place by end of April or beginning of May.

We also prodded him to reveal the pricing of the forthcoming handset, and while we couldn’t get a clear answer, Singh revealed that “Yuho’s waterdrop notch-toting smartphone will be priced under Rs 12,000.

On Yuho’s product strategy

Apart from the flagship offering, we tried to understand the price points the brand will be operating in. Mr Singh stated that “we’ll be focusing on the Rs 6k to Rs 10k segment, with one or two devices touching the Rs 12,000 mark.” He also mentioned that “our volume driver will no doubt be the Y series, which offers phones in the sub-Rs 8k segment.

Yuho Vast Plus UFI 09

We also asked if the brand has any plans to target first-time smartphone users, and to this, both Captain and Michael were clear that “Yuho doesn’t want to go after the entry-level market as the hardware choice might lead users to believe that products are poor. Instead, by offering good specs, we can ensure a good experience to consumers.

On Yuho’s sales strategy and service support

Unlike most new-age smartphone brands, Yuho is solely focusing on the offline retail market. We asked Captain the reason for the same and he said that “70 percent market is offline and we want to reach out to consumers via brick-and-mortar stores so that they can get a touch and feel of the product before making up their mind.

We also discussed the brand’s retail presence in the country, and Singh mentioned that “currently Yuho smartphones are available in 16 states across 700 stores. By the end of 2019, this will be ramped up to 19 states and 1,800 to 2,000 stores.” 

Yuho Vast Plus UFI 10

As far as after sales support is concerned, he said that “we have mixture or in-house centres in major metros and regions for keeping the spare parts and more than 400 outsourced centres which act as collection points.

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.