China’s smartphone makers catching up with western rivals
Xiaomi outsells Apple and Samsung in China where more than a third of all smartphones sold, with Yulong and ZTE competing
For smartphone users in China, an Apple is less tempting than Small Rice. That is the translation of Xiaomi, a mobile phone brand that is unheard of in the west but now outsells the US technology powerhouse in the Chinese market.
Owners of an Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy in Europe and America will soon find other brands such as Yulong and ZTE competing for their attention. Buoyed by success on the domestic stage, Chinese smartphone makers are ready to take on the technology establishment.
More than a third of all smartphones are sold in China, and Xiaomi is one of five companies whose success in their domestic market has propelled them on to the international stage.
China now accounts for one-fifth of the branded smartphones shipped globally, according to research firm Canalys, and the breakneck growth of its largest handset makers has begun to shake up the industry.
Gartner says four of the 10 largest global makers are now Chinese. Their names – Lenovo, Yulong, Huawei and ZTE – are not well known outside China, and they are still considerably smaller than Samsung and Apple. Nonetheless, these four companies already outsell Nokia and BlackBerry.
Chinese manufacturers, it seems, are no longer content with their traditional role of making phones for other firms. Instead, they are gearing up to take on the market leaders under their own name.
Lenovo, which has already overtaken Hewlett-Packard as the largest seller of personal computers globally, announced this week that combined sales of its phones and tablets now outstrip sales of its traditional computers.
Often mentioned as a potential buyer for its distressed Canadian rival BlackBerry, Lenovo’s smartphone sales have grown 144% year on year. While the company’s laptops can be found in most branches of John Lewis and Dixons, 95% of its smartphones are still in China, where it is number two behind South Korea’s Samsung. However, as the PC market fades, Lenovo has made no secret of its desire to expand overseas.
Its chief executive, Yang Yuanqing, espouses what he calls a “two fist” strategy – defending the home turf with one hand and attacking abroad with the other.
Adept at facing two ways, Lenovo still relies on donkeys to deliver its products to some rural parts of China, but for a Beijing phone marketing event this month it secured an appearance on stage by the American basketball star Kobe Bryant.
Lenovo’s first forays into overseas smartphone sales have been in emerging markets, including Russia, India and Indonesia, and the company says it has secured a 5% share in markets that it has entered recently.
“We have very aggressive plans to explore overseas markets,” Lenovo’s mobile boss Liu Jun told China Daily this week. “We hope the overseas market will contribute more than half of Lenovo’s total smartphone revenue in the long run.”
Huawei, which ranks as the sixth largest smartphone seller worldwide, according to Canalys, has made no secret of its international expansion plans. It has located one team of handset designers in London and staged the global launch of its Ascend P6 in the capital, taking over the Roundhouse in Camden at an event attended by Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone. Better known as a maker of telecoms equipment, where contracts with mobile network EE and BT have helped it become the second largest vendor after Sweden’s Ericsson, phones comprise a small but growing part of its $35bn (£22bn) a year in revenues.
Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific Co, to give the company its full name, is the Chinese equivalent of BlackBerry.
Founded in 1993 by chairman Guo Deying, its Coolpad smartphones have enhanced privacy settings that make them popular with government officials and businessmen. Sales of the devices have propelled it to the number four slot worldwide, but steps outside China have been tentative. Its first deal with a US network was secured last summer, with a budget 4G smartphone running on Google’s Android software. Its sales topped out at 900,000.
根据Canalys的（报告），位居全球第六的智能手机商家华为，毫不掩饰其国际扩张计划。它拥有一个位于伦敦的手机设计师团队，并在首都（伦敦）的卡姆登区“圆屋剧场”举行仪式向全球推出它的Ascend P6，其中Carphone Warehouse公司(译者注：欧洲最大手机零售商)的创始人查尔斯·邓斯通主席先生也有出席。作为电信设备制造商，华为更知名些，移动网络EE和BT的合同帮助它成为（全球）第二大供应商，仅次于瑞典的爱立信，手机业务是其350亿美元（220亿英镑）年收入中虽然微小但增长迅速的一部分。
In seventh position globally is ZTE which, like its larger rival Huawei, also majors on telecoms equipment and internet devices such as household modems. F ounded in 1985, it is part-owned by the Chinese state. Its low-cost handsets are increasingly popular in the US, where it is now the fifth largest and fastest growing smartphone vendor, according to Strategy Analytics.
In his regulation black T-shirt and jeans, Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun is the face of a new generation of Chinese technology entrepreneurs. His casual attire and crowd-pleasing performances at product launches have earned him the nickname, the Chinese Steve Jobs. But rather than focusing on foreign markets, Lei wants to turn Xiaomi into a software company. Its internet platform, which includes games, an online marketplace and a social messaging app, bring in just over $3m a month and Lei thinks that number could be much higher. “Xiaomi selling mobile phones is like Amazon selling Kindles,” he told Reuters.
For Xiaomi, the smartphone is a device on which to sell more profitable wares. For other Chinese manufacturers, it is the key to a global empire.
全球排名第七的是中兴通讯，它的规模比竞争对手华为更大，同样也是专业电信设备和互联网设备（制造商），如家用调制解调器。 公司成立于1985年，是中国国有企业。根据Strategy Analytics（译者：全球著名的信息技术，通信行业和消费科技市场研究机构，总部设在波士顿）的报告，它的低成本手机在美国越来越受欢迎，现在是第五大和增长最快的智能手机厂商。
Xiaomi outsells Apple in China but not Samsung. Fact
I seriously doubt this garbage will appeal to a Western market.
So, while this garbage may sell well in China with over a billion people, I somehow doubt it would fair well outside of Asia. Though, I’m not sure they could even market their garbage in Southeast Asia
A bit quick to call them all “garbage”. The kerfs, copies and garbage are still around but many good quality and cheap Chinese phones (they make all the other phones you know!). Check out www.gizchina.com
You are seriously misinformed about the quality of Android handsets in China made by Chinese OEMs. Many are of high quality. Many run the best quality Operating System in the world: Android 4.3 JellyBean. They just do not happen to have a high price because in emerging markets, the vast majority of buyers cannot afford high price devices. Hence the profit margins on many Chinese phones are low, despite their high quality.
You may have heard of a company called Apple? They sell a few devices which carry a very high price to consumers. In fact so high that Apple’s profit margins are outrageous, even egregious. I believe they are fleecing the consumer in the West but if consumers are willing to pay through the nose for the privilege of drinking the Apple Kool Aid, it is an individual choice. Funny thing has happened though. Apple now sells only 1 in 10 smartphones sold globally. Android is the choice of Operating System on 8 in every 10 smartphones sold globally. See what happens when consumers have choice!
您可能已经听说过一个叫苹果的公司吧？他们卖着几部价格非常高的设备给消费者。事实上，苹果的利润率如此之高，非常离谱，甚至是令人震惊的。我相信他们在西方要掏空消费者，但如果消费者愿意出高价买他的特权苹果混合饮料（译者：Kool Aid卡夫公司出品的 “酷爱”牌)饮料的话，那是他个人的选择。有趣的事情马上就要来了。现在苹果在全球智能手机的销售中只占1/10。安卓则是全球智能手机销售中有8/10会选择的操作系统。看看当消费者有选择权时发生了什么！
Wow you are obviously a China ‘expert’ not! Sell rubbish phones etc is a sure fire way to go bust, social media will ensure this.
I recall in the 60s and 70s when British Leyland lent the war torn Japanese a crappy out of date engine to kickstart their car industry. Everyone ridiculed. 20 years later they were competing, now they are amongst the world’s best.
British Leyland went bust.
Which war was Japan torn by in the 1960s and 1970s?!
It takes a number of years to rebuild from this amount of devastation
And we dont get garbage duumped on us
Where do you think the premium Western products are made?
‘I seriously doubt this garbage will appeal to a Western market.’
You would be wrong then.
Android is great. I don’t care for Apple. I have both
And in all likelihood, these are likely mimics in terms of their design. I suspect the build quality is inconsistent.
China mimics: it has no history of innovation, nor an environment where that is encouraged or takes place
Why would build quality be inconsistent? They came out the same production line that makes your Apple.
What quality of product you get depends on what price the Western brand managers want to pay. So the same looking phone can have vastly different quality parts. If you open up an iphone as well as a Samsung, you can see that the parts of the Samsun is of better quality than those of the iphone. iPhone is seriously over priced riding on their so-called exclusive environment. Android is the contribution of some of the best brains in the world and surely will win out over Apple’s model. Stupid that Jobs did not learn from their almost disappearing PCs which has been proprietary in their software environment. It is a road that can be projected to diminish compared with an open system.
你得到的产品质量如何，取决于西方品牌经理想支付什么样的价格。所以看起来一样的手机可能有完全不同质量的配件。如果你打开??一部iIphone以及一部 三星，你会发现三星的零部件质量比iphone更好。 iPhone那货不符实的定价是依赖他们所谓的独特环境而产生的。 安卓是世界上许多最优秀人才的贡献，它必将战胜苹果模式。愚蠢的乔布斯并没有从他们几乎要消失的、需要运行专门软件环境下的电脑业务里学乖。与开放的系统 相比这是一条凸显弱势的道路。
“China mimics: it has no history of innovation”
What an incredibly foolish thing to say.
“China mimics: it has no history of innovation, nor an environment where that is encouraged or takes place.”
It’s always embarassing to hear people say this – it’s as if they’re concentrating on the last 50 years of catchup, using revisionist history to put forward their agenda.
You should look at the bigger picture, whitehawk (apt name for the opinion)
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‘China mimics: it has no history of innovation, nor an environment where that is encouraged or takes place.’
The force is strong with this one.
I have a Chinese designed / made cell handset with FOUR SIM capacity. All can be active simultaneously.
Great for hopping across borders or taking advantage of carrier discounts.
Better still, NSA / CIA free, no back-channels reporting my location to California (and the US government).
Great looking screen (who counts pixels, it’s performance that counts) and English menu. Plenty of Apps, too.
Set me back and horrendous ￡28 – unlocked!
you are aware that SIMs have an inherent flaw that allow it to be hijacked by any mobile antenna, yes?
Talking thrash about Chinese firms copying the west. It has been more than 10 years since Chinese OEM are no longer OEMs. They are ODMs because they are original designers and end-to-end manufacturers who have anticipated the needs of the western giants and they have hidden their technology in the hardware finished products that they supply to all the big names. Apple has no design and manufacturing capabilities to speak of. They have been riding on their Chinese suppliers such as Foxconn.
All Apple is good at is asking for features when presented with prototypes. Well that delays their launch. So most of the time they really are just shoppers choosing among a number of prototypes already finished by the Chinese firms.Idiot who call Chinese products garbage are just consumers and blind as mice. Chinese/Taiwanese firms have dominated the camera modules in cellphones because of the CMOS technology they have pushed for which now dominated the vision chip business. The Japanese vertically integrated Camera firms have small batch small scale costs so high they are not even competitive. Panasonic Camcorders for example have their cruicial CMOS and lense modules bought from the Chinese factories. I laugh when I read so many blind mice on this forum here who still think Japan dominates the camera industry. Samsung however is strong in their own right. They have their own technology and parts.
The insecurity of “China Risng” shows amongst people. Same with what happened with Japan 30 years ago. Quite sad really, that the WASP mentality cannot accomodate for others without trying to play them down.
I’ve a Huawei Ascend for a year. Brilliant smart phone for less than 100 pounds. Only problem is how to pronounce the company’s name.
I have just bought a G300 for ￡70.00 on PAYG including ￡10 top up.
Huawei is pronounced ‘PLA front
Indeed it is. The other main brand being “NSA front”.
As if i would buy any smartphone made by slave labour come on us fellow guardian readers must unite. Like hell anyone on here has a phone made by cheap labour we have middle class standards
Can anyone lead me to any nationwide Chinese organization that lobbies for increased worker rights, conditions and pay in factories that manufacture smart phones? Chinese buy these smart phones by the gazillion and its their workers after all. I mean stuff like that is how the CCP was formed in Shanghai in 1921. The truth is the Chinese don’t care, apart from those at the sharp end.
Would you mind telling me the brands that aren’t made in China?
I’m guessing all your electrical goods are locally sourced from craft fairs and farmers markets then!!
Language must be a disadvantage for western companies. It appears the west is losing more and more to far east businesses. Increasing, we shall see Chinese’s companies investing in Europe not because we are higher skilled but because we are becoming poorer. Therefore, cheaper for Chinese companies to manufacture.
Well that is hardly a shock, the Western makers aren’t Western makers. The phones are made in China, now they are going to pay the price for their greed. The Chinese are notorious for nicking technology and intellectual property. The price for outsourcing jobs, is giving away all your tech secrets.
I have tow Chinese Android devices and recently purchased the Xiaomi Mi2s for my wife. it is truly a splendid phone, very capable and very well supported by updates. I would thoroughly recommend especially for the excellent price.