Pepsi Co brews smart phone biz in China

By Money Times

Oct 13, 2015 10:23 PM EDT

Global soft drink major PepsiCo Inc is testing waters in mobile devices market. The US-based food and beverage company is in the process of launching Pepsi branded smartphones in the Chinese market shortly. However, Pepsi doesn't make mobile phones but acts as a licensing partner to market mobile phones under Pepsi brand.

A gamut of mobile phone models and accessories will be launched under Pepsi brand in China over next few months. According to unconfirmed news, the mobile phone is called 'Pepsi P1.

PepsiCo Inc didn't name the licensing partner, who manufactures mobile phones in China. The soft drink maker also didn't provide any further information on mobile phones. According to a spokeswoman at PepsiCo,  the soft drink maker has no plans to get into the mobile phone manufacturing business.

The mobile phones under Pepsi brand will initially be available in China market only. Without divulging further details about the licensing partner and products, the spokeswoman said: "Available in China only, this effort is similar to recent globally licensed Pepsi products which include apparel and accessories." 

The Pepsi-branded smartphone Pepsi P1 is likely to be mid-range Android phablet with a 5.5-inch screen. The salient features of Pepsi P1 include 1.7 GHz CPU and 16GB memory. The retail price is expected to be $200 in the Chinese market. 

Market circles expect that PepsiCo may announce more details on 20 October. Pepsi may not launch its branded smartphone in the US and Europe markets, predict analysts. Will its market rival Coca-Cola follow the suit? Let's wait and see.

The news about PepsiCo venturing into mobiles phone business is making rounds in the media circles ever since it was first posted by technology website Mobipicker on 11 October. The unconfirmed news reveals that mobile phone will be called 'Pepsi P1' in the Chinese market. The features are expected to be decent, but not high-end specs, according to the media reports.

Pepsico hasn't gone into manufacturing smartphone nor designing the mobile devices. It just confines itself to licensing the brand as it did for other product companies. It's contracted an unknown phone manufacturer to make smartphones under Pepsi brand.

PepsiCo has many licenses for several categories of products. Pepsi partnered with Danish luxury stereo and TV maker Bang & Olufsen in 2014, and Del Toro, Italian shoemaker, for marketing a range of products under Pepsi brand. PepsiCo's stock closed lower 0.36 percent on Monday at $99.11 in a sluggish trading.

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