Given its interest in China, it makes some sense that Telconet Capital is selling to an Asian investor, albeit one that doesn't have direct smartphone experience. REX Global Entertainment's business interests include cruise ships, casinos, property, and even gamma ray irradiation services (!).
Representatives for Yota Phone and REX Global Entertainment did not respond to our questions about the investment at the time of writing. (We'll update this post with more details as we hear them.)
It isn't clear what plans that Yota has with its new investor on board, but we'd suspect that in addition to upping the ante in China, it will look closely at opportunities in emerging markets in Asia, in particular India and Southeast Asia. Other Android phone makers like OnePlus and Xiaomi have focused on those regions, where smartphone adoption remains relatively nascent but device sales continue to grow at double and triple digit rates.
Martynov is confirmed to speak at our TechCrunch China
event in Beijing next month, so we should have a more complete picture of what's on the horizon soon.
Yota Devices grew out of the its parent company's telecom business, which is centered around providing mobile broadband services and wireless devices. Yota, founded in 2006, is notable for being one of the first WiMAX providers, though today it provides
4G-LTE services in more than nine cities across Russia.