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Lenovo applies for a single brand retail license: report

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Lenovo has applied for single brand retail license for opening company owned showrooms in India, reports ET Telecom. The company’s Indian turnover from smartphone sales has been on the rise – from $700M last year to $1.3B this year, and it expects company operated showrooms to help make a bigger impact. MediaNama was able to independently verify the development.

As of now Lenovo sells various laptops, netbooks, tablets, desktop PCs and smartphones in India. The company also owns Motorola, which sells its own handsets. Lenovo also manufactures smartphones in India – it had started in August last year in a partnership with Flextronics at its Sriperumbudur plant. At the time, it said it planned to manufacture six million units of smartphones by both Motorola and Lenovo during the fiscal.

Interest in single brand retail on the rise: Chinese smartphone maker LeEco had also sought approval for opening single brand retail shops and an ecommerce portal in India in April this year. The company planned to open exclusive retail stores across top cities in India including New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The same month, Xiaomi also sent an application to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for opening single brand retail stores in India. Similarly, in January, Apple too had applied to the DIPP, seeking permission to open single brand retail stores and an e-commerce business in the country.

Relaxation of local sourcing norms: Interestingly, Apple, LeEco and Xiaomi had applied for exemption of local sourcing rules. The government subsequently relaxed FDI rule of mandatory 30% local sourcing for opening single brand retail stores for up to three years, and additionally up to five years if the brand proved that its products are “state-of-art and cutting edge’ technology. It also approved 100% FDI by default for DTH, Cable TV, HITS operators.

Other developments:

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– In September last year, Lenovo launched the Vibe Shot that came with 13 preinstalled Reliance Jio apps. The preinstalled apps included Jio Chat, World, Social, Settings, Friends, Play, News, Experience, Beats, On-Demand, Drive, Broadcast and Mags (each app is prefixed with ‘Jio’).

– In May last year, it launched its low-cost Google Chromecast-like media streaming device called Cast.

– In June last year, Lenovo appointed Rahul Agarwal as the managing director for Lenovo India, taking over from Amar Babu who was promoted as the chief operating officer for the Asia Pacific region and chairman of Lenovo India.

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