Apple-Samsung rivalry heats up in Nepal

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu

Dec 18, 2014-

Apple-Samsung smartphone rivalry is set heat up in Nepal, with the official launch of the iPhone on Friday.

Generation Next Communica-tions (Genxt) has been named the authorised distributor of iPhone for Nepal, while the country’s leading telecom operator Ncell has offered the smartphone with its service bundling.

Although Apple has been selling its products like the iMac, iPod and MacBook through authorised resellers in Nepal, it had not appointed any authorised distributor for the iPhone.

So far, Samsung has been the lone player in the premium smartphone segment, with minimum competition from other brands. It always enjoyed that first-mover advantage, with the official Samsung distributor having one of the largest sales network in Nepal.

Despite the global frenzy surrounding the iPhone, Apple has lagged behind Samsung in Nepal for just one reason—absence of an authorised distributor. With Apple now naming an authorised distributor for the iPhone, Nepal is all set to witness the greatest smartphone rivalry between the two tech giants. Genxt Managing Director Pawan Kumar Bhimsariya said there is lot of enthusiasm for the new iPhones in the domestic market. “Corporate clients, businessmen and teenagers, among others, are eagerly awaiting the genuine iPhone,” said Bhimsariya.

“As Genxt has been named the authorised distributor, customers can be assured of quality as we offer a one-year warranty, VAT bill and insurance. Customers can even check whether the products are genuine by visiting our official website.”

Although Apple has an edge over Samsung in terms of the brand value, affordability is what makes Samsung smartphones more desirable. In terms of screen size, the iPhone 6 Plus competes with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Samsung’s local distributer Integrated Mobility Solutions (IMS) has priced the Note 4 at Rs 85,900, while the iPhone 6 Plus starts from Rs 92,400. Another Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S5, is available at Rs 66,000, while Apple iPhone 6 (16 GB) costs Rs 81,900.

“If you compare the latest smartphones launched by both the companies, Samsung products are cheaper,” said IMS President Dikesh Malhotra. Samsung, through IMS, has a formidable presence in Nepal with a strong sales network. IMS has 19 showrooms and nine service centres across the country. And, the company plans to add 11 more showrooms and service centres in 2015.

Genxt’s says it is taking up the challenge head-on. It is launching the iPhone through resellers—Evo Store and Astral Computers—besides Ncell’s service centres. The company will launch the iPhone 4S starting from Rs 33,000 for “customers who have wished to own the iPhone at least for once”, said Bhimsariya. “This will help make customers loyal to the brand,” he said. IMS also recently launched the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung’s first metal-frame smartphone with the latest Exynos chipset. The Alpha was launched last month with a price tag of Rs 72,900, but IMS recently announced a Rs-10,000 cash back offer.

Malhotra said he does not see any competition for at least a year as it takes time for Apple to build the sales and service network across the country. “After some time, we will be competing with them as it has been so in various other countries,” he said.

Published: 19-12-2014 09:39

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