Lenovo eyes making smart wearables in India, higher market share

(Reuters) - Lenovo Group Ltd 0992.HK is looking to make smart wearables in India and raise its share of the local market by three-fold, in a plan that will help boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheme to promote the country an electronics manufacturing hub.

FILE PHOTO: The Lenovo logo is seen in this illustration photo January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

The company is targeting to corner by this year a 20 percent share of India’s market for wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness bands, Sebastian Peng, head of accessories at Lenovo Mobile Business Group, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Since the firm started selling its wearables in India last year, the company has achieved 6-7 percent of the market share of smart wearables in the country, he said.

The company is now planning to start manufacturing in India, where the smart wearables market is expected to grow 30-40 percent this year, Peng added. Lenovo currently makes its wearable products in China.

“We have started talks with local manufacturers to start manufacturing within the country. We’re trying to start these operations some time this year,” Peng said over the phone from New Delhi, where he is attending a product launch.

Lenovo has already partnered with homegrown e-commerce firm Flipkart to sell wearables on its platform, said Naveen Bajaj, India head at Shenzhen Aodishi Technology, which is Lenovo’s authorized overseas accessories distributor.

Lenovo, which also makes products ranging from smartphones to laptops, will expand its wearable offerings on other e-commerce portals, such as AMZN.O.

The company will push to establish a physical retail network as well, starting with major Indian cities.

“Smart wearables is the key category we’re trying to push for this year. We are very confident that we can achieve our target,” Peng said.

India's wearables market was worth $157 million (112.55 million pounds) in 2017, according to International Data Corporation. Other wearable sellers in the country include Xiaomi Technology IPO-XMGP.HK, Huawei and Fitbit FIT.N.

Once local manufacturing kicks off, Peng said the company would consider India as an export hub for wearables.

Lenovo already sells its HW02 fitness band and HX03W cardio smartband in India through its retail outlets and e-commerce platforms.

Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar