Vertu eyes India for app development

Luxury phonemaker brand is in talks with some Indian software companies to develop apps and features aimed at high-profile clients and luxury consumers, including India's growing affluent class.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Luxury phonemaker Vertu is assessing several Indian software developers to build some of its apps aimed at high-profile clients, and also planning to increase its distribution network to target the country's growing affluent class.

"We are in contact with some software companies, mostly in Bangalore," Vertu President Perry Oosting said in a report by the Economic Times Thursday. The executive was in New Delhi for the opening of Vertu's first standalone boutique store.

"There is a huge growth opportunity here. People in India today are well travelled, and they appreciate luxury products. We want to tap that potential," Oosting said at the launch Wednesday.

He said Vertu develops exclusive apps and features for high-profile clients. For instance, a car parking app was developed with Italian carmaker, Ferrari, which helps the owner find the appropriate parking lot for his vehicle.

The company plans to add enhanced features relevant to luxury consumers, and some of the work is expected to be done in India, Oosting said.

Vertu products have been available in India since 2005 through a partnership deal with Matrix Distributors, according to the Economic Times report.

The brand intends to increase its presence and distribution in India by opening more exclusive stores throughout the country. "We currently have 19 points of sale in India, but now we plan to open mono-brand stores in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, after Delhi," Oosting said.

India's luxury retail sector is relatively small but growing, although challenges such as the availability of supporting infrastructure remain, the president said. Vertu is not just focused on the Asian region, but also investing and expanding in Europe, he added.

The luxury brand was created by Finnish phonemaker Nokia in 1998, which announced in last December it was planning to sell off the brand. It is now 90 percent owned by private equity group EQT, with Nokia keeping 10 percent stake.

Vertu operates standalone boutiques in other Asian markets including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

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