Corning Inc. is planning to expand its Gorilla Glass in India in synchronization with smartphone penetration.
The $10-billion dollar US company, a leading producer of glass for mobile devices, has recently rolled out its Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
“India has roughly 1 billion cell phone users, of which 20 per cent use smartphones and 80 percent use feature phones. It is still a small market and is just getting started for us, but we plan to grow in this market directly with smartphone penetration,” said John Bayne, Corning Gorilla Glass Vice President and General Manager.
While Corning’s initial growth came from North America, Europe and China, these markets are now saturated when it comes to smartphone users.
“Smartphone penetration is almost 90 per cent in these markets, which makes India a critical market from where we will seek tremendous opportunities going forward.”
The company is a major supplier to international companies including Samsung, Dell, Motorola and Lenovo, and also domestic players such as Lava, Micromax, and Karbonn.
Corning anticipates tapping into the mobile phone corporations in India and plans to commence co-branding activities with these firms.
“Gorilla Glass 3 is already the highest seller in India and we will be working with more local OEMs and brands. The top four or five brands are Indian companies and we want to help them with our cover glass technology. We will also seek co-promotions with them,” said Mr Bayne.
In addition, Corning has also opted to work with entry-level smartphone makers since that provides it with pricing flexibility.
“Corning Gorilla Glass 5 gives us the flexibility with our other products like Gorilla 3 and 4 in terms of our pricing strategy. Clearly, if somebody was price sensitive, we could have more flexibility with our legacy of products,” he said.
“The cost of glass is less than 1 per cent of the price of the mobile phone,” Mr Bayne added.
Gorilla Glass was first rolled out in the year 2007, when the smartphone penetration stands at 10 percent and is just beginning to take off. The newest Gorilla Glass 5 features a greater drop resistance, as it can survive up to 80 percent of the time when it is dropped face down from a height of 1.6 meters.
In recent times, the company has penetrated the screen protector industry and is looking forward to releasing these products in the country.
According to Bayne, “We launched screen protectors, which go under the name of Corning Accessory Glass, about six months ago and intend taking them to India. We are also looking at segments like glass at the back of mobile devices in future.”
Currently Gorilla Glass’ presence in India is limited to sales.
“If the finishing industry develops in India like it has in China, and it is cost-effective, we may consider manufacturing,” he said.