Micromax eyes push into other emerging markets including Russia and Eastern Europe, looking to acquire a software firm

The largest homegrown mobile handset brand Micromax is looking to grab a bite of the rising demand in other emerging markets. The firm, which had previously expanded its footprint in neighbouring markets such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, is now rolling out operations in Russia and Romania, an Eastern European market, as per separate media reports citing the firm’s co-founder.

Micromax has already set up an office in Russia and also partnered with web search engine service Yandex NV to develop software application for its devices, according to a report by The Hindu Business Line.

The firm’s co-founder Rahul Sharma said that the expansion into Russia and Romania will happen in December this year. According to him, the company does not want to restrict itself as a domestic player and its ultimate goal is to become a leading global brand. The firm has also signed an agreement with Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman to endorse its high-end smartphone series sold under the Canvas brand.

Sharma said the firm will also look to acquire a software company and is already on the lookout for a good fit. However, he did not share the details.

Gurgaon-based Micromax Informatics Ltd manufactures phones, data cards, funbooks and consumer electronics devices. The firm is backed by investors like Sequoia Capital, Madison India Capital, Sandstone Capital and TA Associates. Last year, Chinese fabless semiconductor firm Spreadtrum Communications Inc also invested $10 million in the company.

The firm claims to have closed last fiscal with revenues topping Rs 3,000 crore and is eyeing a 100 per cent growth in the current year.

Micromax’s plan to go overseas to other emerging markets makes sense. It focuses on feature phones as well as value-for-money smartphones. The firm is consciously not trying to compete in the premium segment where Apple and Samsung have locked horns. But, with Samsung’s cross segment play, it would be pitched against its key rival in India, in the other emerging markets as well.

The firm, however, has been facing a few challenges back home. A few days ago, Micromax CEO Deepak Mehrotra left the company to join publishing major Pearson as its managing director for India business.

In August this year, its co-founder Rajesh Agarwal and another senior official Manish Tuli were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on alleged graft charges. Earlier, world’s biggest telecom network equipment maker Ericsson sued Micromax over alleged patent infringement and refusal to enter into licence agreement related to wireless technology standards such as GSM, EDGE and 3G.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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