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The year Chinese smartphone players dominated Indian market

India this year surpassed the US to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China.

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There are nearly 650 million mobile phone users in India — and over 300 million of them have a smartphone. For these users, Chinese players became the first choice this year as they launched devices with compelling features, thus dominating the budget and mid-range price segment in the country.
Chinese vendors captured 49 per cent of the Indian mobile phone handset market in the first quarter of 2017 — with a 180 per cent (year-on-year) revenue growth — threatening to wipe out domestic players from the overall handset segment.
Among the top Chinese brands, Xiaomi witnessed the biggest growth this year.
With a market share of 23.5 per cent and having shipped 9.2 million smartphones in the third quarter this year, Xiaomi became the fastest-growing smartphone brand with a growth rate of nearly 300 per cent (year-on-year) in the third quarter this year.
According to IDC, Samsung had 23.5 per cent market share in India, similar to Xiaomi, the Lenovo-Motorola combine was at 9 per cent, Vivo at 8.5 per cent and OPPO at 7.9 per cent.
For Xiaomi, its Redmi Note 4 device that was launched in January at Rs 9,999 for the base model (2GB RAM and 32GB onboard storage) proved to be a game-changer and its best-selling smartphone too. The company shipped approximately four million units of the device in this quarter, said IDC.
Chinese brands like Huawei (which sells its youth-centric sub-brand Honor in India), Vivo, Motorola (a Lenovo brand) and OPPO’s performance remained strong and contributed to more than half of the total smartphone shipments in the country.
Aiming to push its position up in the highly competitive Indian market, Honor launched flagship products at “unbeatable prices”, like the highly-successful Honor 8 Pro (Rs 29,999) and Honor 7X (starting at Rs 12,999).
Only one-fourth of India's population uses smartphones, thus making the country an attractive destination
Only one-fourth of India’s population uses smartphones, thus making the country an attractive destination
 Vivo and OPPO’s aggressive marketing spends also paid them hefty dividends. With smartphone growth nearing saturation in metros, Chinese players were also busy building their base in tier II and III cities.
When it comes to manufacturing in India, Xiaomi announced its third plant in the country based out of Noida and the first facility for power banks in partnership with Hipad Technology.
Spread across 230,000 square feet, the Noida unit is a dedicated facility for Xiaomi power banks where the Mi Power Bank 2i will be assembled. The company already has two smartphone manufacturing plants in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, where more than 95 per cent of its smartphones sold in India are assembled locally.
Meanwhile, South Korean giant Samsung also announced that it would invest Rs 4,915 crore in expanding its Noida manufacturing plant to double the production capacity of both mobile phones and consumer electronics.
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved OPPO’s request to open single-brand retail stores in the country. With this decision, OPPO became the first smartphone company to get this opportunity in India.
The Chinese players also handled the post-demonetisation ripples well with high decibel marketing, increased credit line to distributors and efficient channel management.
Global vendors, led by Samsung, were able to withstand the aggressive Chinese players post-demonetisation owing to their good distributor coverage and penetration in the Indian market.
Aiming to gain a further foothold in the offline smartphone market, Xiaomi opened its first “Mi Home” store in Bengaluru in May and plans to add 100 such stores in the next two years.
Similarly, Lenovo-owned Motorola opened six “Moto Hubs” in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai and plans to open 50 more by the end of this year.
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor announced opening four more exclusive service centres in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Guwahati. Its service centres are already operating in 17 cities.
India this year surpassed the US to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China. Yet, according to Counterpoint Research, only one-fourth of India’s population uses smartphones, thus making the country an attractive destination for Chinese players in the mobile ecosystem. IANS
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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)