The Indian arm of smartphone maker Gionee is apparently set for new ownership, with a backer of rival Karbonn Mobiles and an existing minority shareholder set to take the reins.
A report by The Economic Times (ET) stated Gionee slowed its activity in India in recent months, due to struggles for its parent company in China. It was reported earlier this year the company had made significant job cuts and founder Liu Lirong’s stake was frozen due to failures to pay suppliers.
Gionee is said to have a 2 per cent to 3 per cent share of the Indian market. The intention is to launch “rich yet aggressively priced smartphones” to take on rival Xiaomi, with availability “before the festive season”.
Behind the new play are Pardeep Jain, MD of Jaina Group (one of the companies which own Karbonn Mobiles, in which he is also MD), and Arvind Vohra, a minority shareholder in Gionee India and the unit’s former CEO. The pair will acquire the 74 per cent of the business held by Gionee (the balance already being with Vohra and family), and will sign a long-term brand licensing agreement.
ET said Vohra had held talks with another Indian device maker about a deal to take over Gionee India, but when these fell through Jaina joined the process. It was suggested that, due to their status as “seasoned professionals in the mobile phone business”, Vohra and Jain are in a strong position to revive the brand.