The share of Russian business has decreased, and the development of the project is in question.
Rostekh sold 25.1% of Yota Devices, the YotaPhone producer, to the structures of the minority shareholder China Baoli, which now became the largest shareholder, Kommersant reported . If previously China Baoli owned a 40% stake, now it has received 65.1% of the shares.
According to Kommersant, in the new documents of China Baoli on July 5 Rostekh does not already appear among the shareholders. The Russian company noted that “the deal has not yet been closed.”
The last known estimate of Yota Devices dates from March 31 and is $ 239 million. However, the documents show that at the same time the manufacturer had a debt to China Baoli in the amount of $ 73.8 million.
China Baoli plans to supply YotaPhone with China’s state news agency Xinhua, which is part of the Ministry of State Security of the country. Holding has already started negotiations with the publication to distribute “individual versions of mobile devices for customers”, and then launch a platform for advertising and e-commerce.
Russia missed the “unique opportunity” to build on the basis of Yota Devices a company in the electronics market with a well-known brand, its own developments and a global network, said China’s minority shareholder Vladislav Martynov. He said he admits the possibility of selling shares in Yota Devices: “I’ll see what they will do with the next generation of the phone, what steps, the investments they will make.”
The entrepreneur explained that when selling YotaPhone in Russia there were several “constraints”: the manufacturer could not explain to customers all the unique advantages of the smartphone, it turned out to be expensive at cost and lost competition with premium Chinese brands.
According to Martynov, the main buyer of YotaPhone in foreign markets was the “hipster, creative and progressive young people”. In Russia, in his view, buyers from this segment are cautious and skeptical about “projects and products that are somehow affiliated with government agencies.”
The first model of the BlackBerry phone was not as steep as the third or fourth. We did not have enough time and funding to keep YotaPhone 3 Russian, was available to Russian users and became a mass product in Russia.
Martynov also admitted that the story of the demonstration of YotaPhone 2 by Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Rostech, Sergei Chemezov, “rather gave another reason for the negative that was going on.” However, according to the businessman, that episode “on the contrary, greatly helped to take place” the project.