Zeeshan Akhtar is the CEO of Q Mobile. Being a number 2 brand in Pakistani mobile phone market, we found him curious to discuss few important things about local mobile phone industry. What he discussed with MORE Team is presented below for our readers
What kind of Mobile handset market Pakistan is and what are its key dynamics?
Pakistani mobile phone market is very dynamic, volatile and growing rapidly for the last couple of years. We see more than 20% growth year on year (YoY) and the prospects for the year 2012 are good as well because of regulator’s announcement to auction 3G licenses in the first half of the year to 3 cellular operators in Pakistan. Certainly, this high end technology will create a considerable demand for smart handsets.
As far as the key dynamics are concerned, Pakistan is a very price sensitive market because of low income standards among masses and overall economic crisis that this country is facing for decades. A big chunk of consumers is looking for competitive prices with maximum features and this has given birth to dual SIM phenomenon which has become very popular in this country during the last two years.
Resultantly, more than 75% of the mobile phone that are sold in Pakistan are within the price range of Rs. 4,500 ($50).
It took 10 years for most of the foreign brands to realize that economies like Pakistan need a simple torchlight than an organizer or an alarm clock. Apart from this, there are number of other utilities that foreign brands could not introduce into their mobile phones mainly because of lack of in-depth analyses of the local market and customer’s demand. This market is growing in the lower/mid segment of the mobile phones and brands have plenty of opportunities to cater to the needs of customers.
I always believe that sales is all about satisfying the customer with good product, price and after sales service. This core idea, which I call, is the winning formula that makes the backbone of Q Mobile. Almost all foreign brands are working in Pakistan with through local distributors but Q Mobile’s product quality has got immense positive response from our valued customers with the help of better product and easy to understand media campaigns.
We at Q Mobile believe that we understand Pakistani customers and their needs in a much better way than any foreign brand and our consistently growing sales numbers is a significant proof of our belief.
How do you align your operations at Q Mobile with the international standards?
Q Mobile values the customer experience above everything therefore the complete business model revolves around the same spirit that ensures compliance with all the prevailing global standards.
At operational level keeping in view the intense competition, I would say we are far more efficient and responsive as compared to others foreign/local brand. That is why we have been able to provide affordable touch, QWERTY and Wi-Fi enabled phones in lower price segment before any other recognized brand in Pakistan. We have a state of the art distribution set up in order to fulfill the demands of our distribution channel partners.
You must have noticed that we strongly emphasize to communicate with customer on regular basis and do our best to provide them better products so that they can upgrade their lifestyle by using more technology oriented phones.
Recent addition of E786 in our product portfolio is one of the efforts to facilitate our valued customers to have a movie camera phone in a competitive price while providing the better quality of service at the same time.
Is it feasible to manufacture mobile phones in Pakistan? Did you ever work on it?
Currently the economic landscape of Pakistan is not viable for any such venture due to the disturbingly high-energy crisis and the political uncertainty.
There are so many Chinese mobile phones in the market. How has the local competition been treating you?
Q Mobile with the grace of Almighty is a well-recognized and appreciated brand in Pakistan. In such a short span of time our growth and brand value has increased tremendously making us a very strong and number 2 position holder in the market in terms of volume. As I said earlier that Pakistan is a very volatile market but still we are keeping our pace in terms of growth, quality of product and service provision to our valued consumers.
Do you think a Pakistani brand can be a real threat to international brands, how?
I personally believe that in this modern world there is no such thing as a local or international brand, a brand is a brand, it’s a promise, it’s an undertaking to deliver certain standards and live up to the customers’ expectations. Whoever, understands this philosophy will be a threat to all those who don’t, irrespective of the country of origin.
It’s all about having a good and healthy competition because it always leads to good product and service quality, eventually customers will get benefit out of it.
If we look at the home appliances industry, not more than a decade ago, it was owned by brands originating from a particular region but now because of excellent product quality and Government support the trend has changed.
What would you say is the selling point of Qmobile?
Q stands for quality in every aspect of our existence.
This is an era of smartphones and people want stylish gadgets in their hands. Do you have plans to cater that market segment by introducing smartphones, tablets in the future?
Yes, definitely getting into this domain is not an option but a compulsion, since the future belongs to the smart handheld multimedia devices.
Today android is the software of choice for many firms, have you made any plans of introducing it on your hardware in future?
As I previously said that the future is all about smart handheld devices and no doubt Android has proven to be quite a stable platform for the information and entertainment hungry youth. Therefore, QMobile will soon reveal a detailed product line up based on Android operating system.
Young people in Pakistan are developing applications for various Mobile OS, which is helping them as well as the platforms; do you plan to engage them in developing Apps for your phones?
Q Mobile recognizes youth as its key target market, therefore anything developed by them or for them would be of key value to us and we definitely look forward to patronize such talents for mutual benefits.
After sales service is an important aspect, what kind of after sales service one gets after becoming Q Mobile customer?
With more than 23 state of the art service centers and an impressive network of 200 collection points available nationwide, A Q mobile customer can expect a comprehensive after sale support and the same intensity of cooperation which is usually found at the time of selling phone.
Tell us something about your staff and working environment?
I find myself very lucky to lead a dream team of professionals who are focused and committed enough to maintain a winning combination. We believe in teamwork, everybody at Q mobile is working for one common cause, which is, diversify and grow the brand.
An impressive 400-team member with proven track records in their respective fields ensure working for Q Mobile is as good an experience as using one.
How has your experience of liaisons with companies like Swarovski been and are there any more liaisons of the kind in pipeline? If so then of what nature?
We have always believed in viable joint ventures, Swarovski was a mega success and soon you will see a few more joint venture initiatives.
What are the future challenges and your aspirations as C.E.O for Q Mobile?
I believe in the fact that the best way to predict future is to create one. The future carries a lot of opportunities for the bold to capture.