China's BBK Electronics no. 2 smartphone maker in India after Samsung

With brands Oppo and Vivo, China's BBK Electronics is India's number 2 smartphone maker by revenue.

The raging battle between South Korea's Samsung and China's Xiaomi for the top slot in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market tend to hog the headlines, but it is another Chinese player, BBK Electronics Corp, that might turn out to be a dark horse. According to The Economic Times, the mushrooming sales of its brands Oppo and Vivo may have helped BBK strengthen its position as the number two smartphone maker by revenue in the country in FY18.

In the latest regulatory filings of Oppo and Vivo with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), the combined India revenue of these two brands stood at Rs 23,173 crore for the last fiscal, up from Rs 14,343 crore in FY17, when BBK emerged the second-largest phone maker. Both these brands crossed the Rs 10,000-crore sales milestone in the Indian market in FY18 - India is the largest market for them outside China. Oppo Mobiles India's gross revenue rose 49% to Rs 11,994.3 crore, while that of Vivo Mobile India surged 78% to Rs 11,179.3 crore.

Moreover, analysts told the daily that BBK's FY18 position is likely to improve further since numbers for its other brand OnePlus are yet to be factored in. OnePlus, which overtook Apple and Samsung to emerge the largest brand in the premium segment in Q1FY19 as per tracker Counterpoint Research, hasn't declared India revenues yet. India is the largest market for OnePlus, accounting for about 30% of global revenue, which was pegged at $1.4 billion in 2017.

Although the latest figures for BBK's competitors in the smartphone market aren't available with the RoC yet, the FY17 data can help understand the lay of the land. Top cat Samsung had posted FY17 sales of Rs 34,261 crore while Lenovo India's revenue stood at Rs 11,950 crore, Apple's at Rs 11,704 crore and Xiaomi's at Rs 8,379.33 crore.

However, Samsung, Xiaomi and Apple are all profitable in India unlike BBK's largest brands. Oppo's net loss increased to Rs 357.8 crore in the year ended March against Rs 41.9 crore in the previous financial year, while that of Vivo jumped 5% to Rs 120.4 crore in the same period. Industry insiders say the losses for both brands spiked in the last fiscal since they're spending big on marketing and retail expansion to gain market share.

According to Nipun Marya, Vivo India brand strategy director, the brand is investing in India for the long haul. "While the full impact of these investments will take a few years to emerge, the fact is that our investment has already started showing results," he told the daily. Meanwhile, RoC filings show that Oppo India plans to borrow about $500 million in the form of external commercial borrowing to support business operations and expansion.

Edited By Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal