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Asus rewards fans in India with early release for ZenFone 2 Laser

In a canny bit of online marketing, the Taiwanese electronics giant pushed forward the phone's release date after it received over 30,000 pre-orders.

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Asus

Asus hopes to control 5 percent of India's smartphone market by 2016, and is using new viral marketing techniques to make it happen. On Tuesday the Taiwanese electronics giant rewarded fans by releasing its Zenfone 2 Laser model ahead of schedule in India -- making it available 11 days ahead of its original September 19 release date.

The move was made after Asus received over 30,000 pre-orders for the device, the latest of many variants of the company's ZenFone 2, which the company claimed was far more than it expected.

"Being a new entrant in the market, consumers have accepted the brand with such great enthusiasm that we have to reset the sale date of our latest offering," said Peter Chang, the company's Regional Head of South Asia. "We aim to achieve 5 percent market share in the country by next year."

Bringing forward a release date to "reward" customers' enthusiasm is a new tactic, but it chimes with recent online sales innovations that have proven successful in developing markets such as India. In September, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi sold a batch of 40,000 phones in 4 seconds after boosting interest in the limited sale via social media.

The 5.5-inch ZenFone 2 Laser features a 1,280x720-pixel high-definition display and a 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus. It's being sold through e-retailer Flipkart for 9,999 rupees ($150), with a more powerful model with 3GB of RAM going for 13,999 rupees ($210).

The original ZenFone 2 debuted in Taiwan in March before launching in the US two months later. There are several variants of the device, including a flagship model with 64GB of storage and, in what was an industry first, 4GB of RAM. Other versions include the Deluxe, Selfie and Go. Last month Jerry Shen, the company's CEO, told DigiTimes that 2016 would see up to seven ZenFone 2 models released.

If successful in hitting its 5 percent market share target in India, the company would be seventh in the market, right behind Lenovo, which sits at 6.4 percent. Leading the pack is Samsung, at 22.6 percent, followed by local budget manufacturer Micromax, which has a 16.7 percent market share, according to analyst company IDC.