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Ninetology unveils budget phone, banks on youth to spur growth

Edwin YappApr 11, 2013
  • Ninetology confident of reaching its goal to sell 100k units of its US$132 budget smartphone
  • Betting on a niche segment of the youth market who still do not own smartphones for growth

A LOCAL mobile device technology company has ambitions to disrupt the market in Malaysia with the launch of its self-branded smartphone targeted at the youth and young adults market.
 
Ninetology Marketing Sdn Bhd, a company founded in August 2012, has set its sights on selling 100,000 units of its Android-powered budget phone, the Pearl Mini, within 45 days of launch.
 
Its chief executive officer Sean Ng (pic) said Ninetology is confident of meeting the target because the company claims to have a track record of reaching its target audience with its products despite being such a new company.
 
To back up this claim, Ng said, the company last year launched a line of smartphones and tablets namely the Stealth II, Black Pearl II, Palette, Outlook Express and Outlook Tablet.
 
“We’ve [managed] to capture 4% of the mobile device market share since our brand emerged in August,” he claimed. “And this first quarter, we sold 93,000 units and our market share has increased to 5.2% as of February 2013."
 
“With such success behind us, we are confident that the Pearl Mini will be a sold out model helping us to achieve our target of capturing 12% of the market share by year-end.” he told reporters at the launch on April 10.
 
The HSPA-enabled (pic, below), 3.5-inch (320 x 480 resolution) Pearl Mini runs on Google’s Gingerbread Android (2.3) operating system and sports a 1GHz single core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. It comes equipped with 512MB ROM/ 256MB RAM and has an expansion slot that supports up to 32GB of external memory.
 
The dual-SIM supported smartphone retails for RM399 (approximately US$132) and comes bundled with a pre-installed SIM card provided by its service provider, local mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Tune Talk.
 
Available starting from the third week of April at all Ninetology and Tune Talk retail outlets nationwide, the Pearl Mini smartphone will be packaged with RM50 free talk time and an RM100 airtime rebate, spread over 10 months.
 
To qualify for this rebate, subscribers would need to reload a minimum of RM20 or more in any denominations each month. More information can be found here.
 
[RM1 = US$0.32}

Company officials also noted that the Pearl Mini is available under the Malaysian Government’s Youth Communication Package.
 
Asked how Ninetology, a relatively unknown and nascent brand, is able to compete with more established brands including Samsung, HTC, Sony and even high-end brands like Apple, Ng said his company was not competing with these brands but rather on a segment of the market it believes has demand for cheaper smartphones.
 
“Ninetology is focused on a segment of the market rather than on competing with other products in the market,” he explained. “We have our own segment [of the market] to focus on and we believe we can sell our products based on what people need; and we know how many units we need to push to achieve our targets.
 
“Our aim is to do our best and deliver and that’s what we want to focus on.”
 
Ng also claimed that Ninetology already has pre-arranged deals with its dealers in the country, adding that these dealers have confirmed to take 25,000 units.

Jason Lo, CEO of Tune Talk, said his company was happy to collaborate with Ninetology as it shares its vision with that of Tune Talk, having the need to reach out to more youths and enable them to get onto the Internet.

"For us, it's about value -- value hunters among students and young working adults," he said. "This is in line with our vision to reach the underserved sengment of the market."   
 
On future plans, Ng revealed that Ninetology aims to launch another eight models by year-end; four that will sport quad core technology while another four to be LTE-enabled (Long Term Evolution).
 
“Our newer phones to be introduced later in the year will also have their own app store [concept],” he said. “From a revenue perspective, we hope to achieve RM120 million, and we’re confident we can get there as we have already achieved RM40 million to date.”
 
In conjunction with Ninetology's brand promotion and activities with youths, Ng also revealed that it will be co-organizing Malaysia’s largest Basketball tournament, the Ninetology All Star 2013 with Xballer to encourage more youths to be fit and healthy. The tournament will be held from May until November 2013, and more details can be found here
 
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