The Lenovo-Motorola combine has applied for single-brand retail licence for opening company-owned showrooms in India as the Chinese company’s mobile sales in the country crossed the $1-billion mark in 2015-16.Sudhin Mathur, director for the mobile business group atLenovo’s Indian operations, said that the turnover from sales of mobile phones in the year ended March 31, 2016 stood at $1.3 billion, nearly doubling from the $700-million sales reached in the previous fiscal.”Sales have been growing at a healthy pace in India and we expect to maintain a strong momentum even during the current fiscal,” Mathur told TOI after launching a new device ‘Vibe K5 Note’.According to numbers collated by industry tracker IDC, the Lenovo-Motorola combine sold around 10 million units last fiscal, accounting for a nearly 10% share in total smartphone sales of 103 million units.Sources said the company, which also sells laptops in the country, has applied for single-brand retail licence for retail as well as e-commerce business in the country.This is under the revised retail guidelines, which have proposed an eight-year relaxation for the 30% local sourcing condition.Other companies to have applied for the single-brand retail licence include Appleand Chinese company LeEcoMathur said smartphone industry sales in India are expected to grow by 30% this year. “We are more optimistic on our business, and expect to grow faster than the industry.”The company’s mobile phones for India are being contract-manufactured byFlextronics, which is making them at Sriperumbudur. Lenovo is also looking at having its own facility for phones in the country as it experiences healthy demand in the market, sources said. A decision on this front is expected soon, a source said.Mathur said that eight-nine new smartphones will be introduced in India over the coming months as the company beefs up its portfolio ahead of the festive season.
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