Motorola needs India to keep its momentum rolling

Lenovo-owned Motorola has been steadily gaining ground since being bought by the Chinese company in 2014.

Manish Singh
Manish is a technology reporter based in India. He covers security, privacy, piracy, gadgets, and interesting things happening in the country. At other times, you'll find him playing Forza Motorsport 5. He plays the same level multiple times to earn more points. He likes points.
Manish Singh
2 min read
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Motorola's new Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus, announced on Tuesday, will be available everywhere soon -- but they're especially important to the company's plans in India.

The American electronics giant shut down operations in India back in 2012, shortly after Google purchased the company for $12.5 billion. After being sold to China's Lenovo for a much diminished $2.9 billion, in February 2014 the brand made a comeback in the subcontinent with the Moto G.

The last few years have seen Motorola hit some lows, but there have been some glimmers of hope for the company. The brand helped make Lenovo the world's fourth biggest smartphone vendor in 2015, according to IDC.

And while it's done well in many countries, such as the US, where it's surpassed Taiwan's HTC to become the No. 4 brand, its success in India is vital if it's to keep the ball rolling.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET


was a great start for the brand in India, with 5.6 million Moto phones sold in the populous nation between February 2014 and September 2015. The country is the second largest market for the , according to Amit Boni, Motorola Mobility's head of India, and India's second largest online smartphone brand.

He anticipates India will become the Motorola's biggest market soon, and that it'll become the leading online brand in the country.

And if the Moto series was going to thrive anywhere, India is a good place. China may be the world's biggest smartphone market, but growth is slowing, whereas India is by far the fastest growing and recently surpassed the US to become the second biggest, according to Counterpoint Research.

As is typical of vendors in India -- a price-sensitive market -- Motorola is exclusively selling the G4 series online to keep costs low. The Moto G4 Plus will start at 13,499 rupees ($200), and have a more expensive model with more RAM and internal storage for 14,999 rupees ($225). The Moto G4 will go on sale next month, but there's no word yet on how much it will cost.

Ironically, it seems like one of Motorola's biggest obstructions in India is itself. The G4 and G4 Plus will be competing with its parent company's own similarly priced Lenovo Zuk Z1, which was launched in India earlier this month.