Satjiv Chahil, former Senior VP of worldwide marketing at Apple has joined as an advisor to the Obi
How has 2014 for Obi Mobiles? 2014 was a pivotal year for us. We had the global launch of our brand in India earlier in 2014, and in September 2014 we launched Obi Mobiles in the Middle East region. Aimed at the young and trendy smartphone consumer, our brand seeks to bring the technology lifestyle to everybody – whoever you are.
We are working with a team of professional designers in the US to continually bring the latest in smartphone technology to our consumers at a disruptive price point. John Sculley, veteran marketer and former CEO of Apple is a co-founder and has managed to attract some big Silicon Valley names to Obi Mobiles.
Satjiv Chahil, former Senior VP of worldwide marketing at Apple has joined as an advisor to the Obi team. With these heavy weights and some top notch talent from India, we hope to continue our success in the region and eventually globally.
What according to you is currently driving business for your company? Obi Mobiles is shaking up the market with its innovative designs and high tech capabilities that are accessible to everyone. In emerging markets such as India, Africa and Latin America, we are looking at targeting an untapped consumer segment by providing cutting edge technology at a competitive price point.
We want to design and bring feature rich smart phones to consumers by developing strong channel partnerships in emerging markets. In order to do this, we listen to our consumer’s needs and react dynamically. This approach is helping us drive business for Obi Mobiles.
What are your company's plans for 2015? Obi Mobiles has just launched a range of new products this month – Boa S503, Leopard S502, Crane S550, Alligator S454, Fox S453, and Racoon S401. We plan to expand to Africa and Latin America in the coming months. In doing so, we hope to bring smartphones to every segment of the market while still reflecting their individual lifestyle and preference.
What is the product / solutions road map ahead for 2015? Our goal is to capture five percent of the market share in target countries by the end of 2015. At Obi, we are brand builders and sales channel builders on a global scale. We can be profitable at more aggressive price points than other multinational brands as we use youth-centric positioning and excellent partner relationships, which will differentiate us from other global brands.
Increasingly, phone purchasing decisions are about word of mouth and social media. We take both very seriously and try to connect with our consumers at an emotional level – which is reflected in our brand and our products. Increasingly, the trend is for feature phone users to move towards smartphones. Our analysis has revealed that consumers today are more likely to switch brands as long as they have sufficient incentive. Obi Mobiles is uniquely positioned to leverage all these changing market dynamics.
Kindly brief us on the evolution of your company over the last few years. What have been your major achievements and milestones? We are a relatively new brand in the market, having been launched only last year. However, we have had some major achievements in one year. The global launch in India was well received; which we hope will fuel success in the Middle East and eventually Africa and Latin America.
What sort of plans do you have for the Africa market? We have set aside substantial investments for our global expansion. We are expanding to Nigeria and Senegal with exclusive distribution agreement rights granted to Redington Gulf; Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda with Despec Mera FZE; and South Africa, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Angola, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe with Sahara Computers (Pty) Ltd.
Obi devices will be available in these markets in the next few months. Our focus now is to consolidate and further strengthen our position in India and the Middle East, with plans to expand to Africa and Latin America later this year.