While BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) has announced 200 layoffs amid a steep fall in its share price, the Canadian giant on Wednesdasy painted a rosy picture of India in its plans as it launched its tablet computer, the Playbook, here. RIM India director (marketing) Krishnadeep Baruah said the company is banking on a bunch of innovative products lined up for release, and the Indian market, to breathe life into its flagging sales.
“India is one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region where we have launched the Playbook,” he said. “Only in the US has it been launched before this.” The 16-GB model of the Playbook is priced at Rs 27,990 in India, and the top-end 64-GB model would cost Rs 37,990. He said the Indian smartphone market is growing faster than the rest of the world.
“The smartphone market is growing at 110% in India, which is much much higher than the global growth rate,” he said. Moreover, “RIM’s market in India over the last two years has been growing faster than the smartphone growth rate,” he said without giving numbers.
While RIM’s focus has so far been on big cities, Baruah said it is now working on a marketing initiative to increase its presence in smaller towns and cities like Patna, Ranchi, Guwahati, etc.
“With the set of products that we have, the distribution that we have and the reach we have, we were present in only 15 cities a couple of years ago,” Baruah said. “Today we are present in 80 towns and cities in India. We suddenly had a lot of the young consumers — the messenger has really taken off among youth.”