China powering India's smartphone market

Chinese smartphone companies increased their market share in India in the latter half of 2016 thanks to cheaper mid-range options for consumers.

INDIA (REUTERS) - Pictures are no longer just worth a thousand words.

They're worth a lot of money.

And in India, Chinese smartphones are taking more and more of them.

In late 2016 - they accounted for more than one in every two sold.

Their largest ever slice of India's 10 billion dollar smartphone market.

"They offer A to Z features at a minimum price. For branded phones the same thing costs much more money, that is why people are preferring the Chinese phones more," said mobile phone seller Santosh Kumar.

Samsung has slipped as India's largest provider of smartphones.

Dropping to 21 per cent in November, down from 30 a year ago.

Half of it is now taken up by Chinese brands, who using some of the oldest tricks in the advertising trade.

"They have been leveraging Bollywood and cricket the most. Then you have the demonetisation effect - where the lower price band segment was the most affected where people buy mobile phones for cash and that is where Indian brands lost," said Research Associate of Mobile Devices and Ecosystems Shobhit Srivastava. 

Another strength, say the brand executives, is Chinese smartphones have longer battery life.

Allowing people to do more on them, for longer.

Even if it doesn't always look like time well spent.