YU Televentures, promoted by Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma, has shrugged its budget handset maker tag by launching a mid-range phone called the Yutopia priced at Rs 24,999.
“Yutopia was really about proving that we can create a flagship smartphone. We are not in the race to be number one or number two or how much are we going to contribute to Micromax. It’s about our vision as a brand, can we give the customer a special experience. We don’t want to be another version of a similar hardware company,” says YU promoter Rahul Sharma.
So, the phone comes with a 2K screen, 21 mp camera, 4GB RAM, all features now associated with top end phones.
Yutopia, says Sharma, is a made in India phone, even though the box for the review unit notes that the phone is made in China. “We are proud that this flagship is completely designed and made in India. Manufacturing for components is done by Compal in Taiwan, but the rest of the process is done in India in our factory in Rudrapur in Uttarakhand,” says Sharma.
YU relies on Micromax’s factories for its assembly line and all phones from the brand are made in Uttarakhand. But YU, which claims to have sold 2 million phones in the one year since its December 2014 launch, is looking beyond just smartphones. It has also introduced its own integrated services platform called Around YU, bringing together several services like hotels, cabs, flight tickets, buses, shop, order food from this one platform, which Sharma hopes will be a good enough alternative to Google Now on YU devices. Around YU also integrates services from Micromax’s investments into companies like Ixigo, Scandid (for shopping) and Gaana.
“We’ve invested millions of dollars in these companies and people asked us why we are investing in these companies. Around YU is a culmination of these investments. A lot of team effort has gone into integrating these services in our phone. We will roll out Around YU to other YU phones as well and we want to have as many users as possible for this, perhaps 10-15 million users in the foreseeable future. We may roll it out for Micromax phones as well,” says Sharma.
Micromax’s co-founder is confident that these services will set their YU phones apart. “When it comes to specs and pricing, each player has its own understanding of the market, be it Motorola, Lenovo, Xiaomi. But on the services front, I’ve not seen anyone else offer something like this (Around YU),” he adds.
So will YU end up overshadowing Micromax as a brand eventually? Sharma feels this is an unfair comparison. “Micromax is a very different beast compared to YU. They launch 10 phones a month, we’ve launched four phones in a year. There are two very different strategies at work with YU and Micromax; we (YU brand ) are about the niche segment,” he says. For now, YU’s promoter admits that while they’ve stepped into unfamiliar territory, they are confident of more growth next year.