Micromax, the Indian smartphone OEM has announced a new brand called YU, which will be online only and ‘direct to the consumer‘. This is clearly a strategy Micromax has adopted to counter the ever growing threat from Xiaomi, whose recent successes in Indian market has made company executives sit back and rethink strategies.
Much like Xiaomi’s MI, Micromax YU will offer software and services, and a customised experience to the users. To achieve this, Micromax has tied up with Cyanogen Inc, the makers of hugely popular Cyanogen OS based on Android. The new brand, in partnership with Cyanogen, will focus on working with various companies to build a layer of services into the operating system itself, much like what Xiaomi is doing with its MIUI.
Rahul Sharma will be leading the YU Televentures which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Micromax Informatics. As mentioned before, all products from YU will be solely sold online, with the first set of devices being expected to be launched in December this year. Mr. Sharma had this to say:
YU will be a game changer brand in India. Disruption has to be the name of the game and with this partnership, we are raising the bar again and rewriting the rules. As YU is envisioned to build an ecosystem of connected devices and offer a differentiated user experience, we will engage directly with consumers.
Speaking about the partnership, Cyanogen’s CEO, Kirt McMaster said:
We’re excited about this partnership as we share a common vision around a powerful user-focused mobile experience. It’s only the beginning as the partnership unfolds. Micromax + Cyanogen = revolution.
Micromax isn’t the first one to go this route. Few weeks back, Huawei announced that their HONOR series of smartphones will be solely sold online. Lenovo too has gone ‘online exclusive’ for its VIBE series of smartphone, while its new Internet services subsidiary will launch on April 1st next year. Also, many believe OnePlus is backed by another Chinese maker Oppo. Gionee too is expected to announce a completely new brand catering to the online market. Clearly, Xiaomi and OnePlus have forced many companies to think different and take an online-only route. But unlike Xiaomi, Micromax and others have considerable (and strong) offline presence, so it makes sense to separate their online business with a completely new brand.