Comio, the Chinese smartphone vendor that entered India in May last year, has decided to shut down its local operations, Gadgets 360 has learnt. The company that was built by Chinese device maker Topwise Communication was originally aiming to sell about a million units of Comio branded smartphones by March this year. However, it is said to have failed to achieve the original target due to having issues with its Chinese promoters. Comio India CEO and Director Sanjay Kalirona has intimated the company’s local partners and government authorities about the hardships the company faces due to lack of support from its Chinese promoters.
“In this journey, it is our bad luck that our parent Chinese company could not give us right products at right time as per market requirements,” said Kalirona in an email to partners, a copy of which is with Gadgets 360. “Worst part has been quality issues faced by us in most of our models and Chinese company did not learn from there mistakes and kept repeating same and [the] conclusion is most of [the] partners, retailers, consumers started losing confidence on the brand. In the current situation, it is very difficult to sustain if as a company we cannot make competitive product so we lost here completely. Chinese promoters also not supported us with enough capital investment to sustain in this competitive market condition.”
Citing lack of support from the Chinese promoters and due to some personal reasons, Kalirona announced in the email that he had stepped down from the Board of the Company, though he continued to work as the CEO. The executive also mentioned that the Chinese management and himself decided to close Comio India operations and at the end of October planned to settle all pending issues, including the payments of creditors liabilities and clear all statutory liabilities in the next three to four months to eventually close the company’s operations in “amicable and peaceful manner”. The company also decided to continue the after-sale service operations for another one year. However, he alleged that all the Chinese team members left India in the first week of November abruptly, and asked the team in India to shut down its operations immediately. Kalirona goes on to that that the Chinese team stopped giving satisfactory answers about settling pending issues, and as a result, the executive said that his team had filed a police complaint and informed the government regulatory authorities about the present situation of the company.
“I am trying my level best in my best possible capacity to support all channel partners and team to get their dues cleared,” said Kalirona, who led the mobile business of Zen Mobile and Intex Technologies prior to joining Comio. “I have given one-time price support to all partners to liquidate their stocks. We also cleared all schemes and pay out of distributors till October 2018. We also billed stock to all partners against their credit balance in appearing in our books. Even in this situation, we are running 400 TCSA to help partners to liquidate their stocks. We are smoothly running after sales services and clearing all DOA of partners.”
Kalirona also mentioned that while few partners are presently chasing Comio India employees to take back their stocks or provide additional support, all employees are under “tremendous pressure” as Chinese promoters have asked them to leave the job and have no clarity on the settlement of their dues. Notably, few employees, including the Head of Corporate Communications of Comio India, recently quit. “In this tough time, Comio India expects some support and patience from its partners,” he continued. “However, I can assure you that Comio India team is still behind all of you for supporting to resolve your day to day issues and I am managing all backend operations to support you all. In terms of price support and scheme support, I have already done my best possible efforts to support the partners.”
Kalirona assured partners that he’d continue until the Chinese promoters of the company come to India and take the charge of Comio India or the government bodies to intervene in the ongoing issues.
The PR agency of Comio India didn’t respond to an email query regarding the current issues being faced in the country. Kalirona also didn’t reply to a message or call seeking clarity on his email to the partners.
After its formal arrival last year, Comio had projected to sell about one million units of Comio branded smartphones in India by March 2018. Kalirona in his latest email to partners, however, specified that the company was able to sell almost nine lakh devices in its one-year journey. In November, the company revealed that it is set to establish its India R&D operations. It also started assembling its smartphone models in the country locally and planned to strengthen its brand presence with a network of 30,000 retailers, 800 distributors, and over 800 after-sales touch points. Moreover, the company launched models such as the Comio X1₹ 5,799, Comio C1 Pro₹ 4,900, and Comio X1 Note₹ 6,729 with features such as 18:9 display and dual 4GVoLTE to counter models from companies such as Asus and Xiaomi.