The Bollywood star of such mega hits as Sultan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dabangg and many more is dialling a raft of investors for his smartphone venture, in which he may take a majority shareholding directly or through his family. He’s currently building an operational management team to be headed by a professional with leadership stints at Samsung and Micromax, two top industry executives told ET.
The Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who owns the Being Human clothing brand, has registered the BeingSmart trademark for smartphones targeted at the entryto-middle market segment. He has also selected the Chinese plant and initial phone models that will run on Android and cost below Rs 20,000.
BeingSmart will be positioned against the Chinese smartphone brigade — Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi — at a time domestic handset makers such as Micromax and Intex are facing tremendous competition,” said one of those cited above. “And, like the Being Human apparel line, proceeds from the profit will be ploughed back into charity and social work that Salman Khan does with his Being Human Foundation.”
Salman Khan joins his peer Shah Rukh Khan in branching into businesses other than film production, harnessing their popularity to establish revenue streams in industries as diverse as entertainment, competitive sport, endorsements and branded clothing. The Being Human brand is licensed to Mandhana Retail Ventures, which operates dozens of outlets in various cities selling fashion accessories and apparel.
Executives said Salman Khan had floated the idea of entering the smartphone business two years ago. A few Indian brands had then shown interest, but eventually backed out due to the high royalty charges he demanded.
“But this time, Salman is himself driving the show and searching for an investor. He expects to launch the devices in the next two quarters and definitely before the festive season,” another executive said.