Foreign Mobiles in the Majority

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Foreign mobile handsets now have market share of over 60 percent in China’s buoyant market – which had over 416 million users at the last count. Xinhua reports:

    “Nearly 25 million mobile phones were sold in the Chinese market in the first quarter, up 15.3 percent from the previous year and the sales revenue also rose 8.8 percent to 36.83 billion yuan (4.6 billion US dollars), [according to] the China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID)”.

The top brands were reported to be:

    • Nokia (over 25 percent share, and the #1)
    • Motorola
    • Samsung
    • Bird (7.71 percent share)
    • Lenovo.

Other domestic brands, Kongka and TCL, saw their market shares fall, and continued strong competition is anticipated. This may lead to a shake-out, and consolidation in the sector.

The success of the foreign firms in the China mobile market is another example of foreign brands (with deep pockets) finding success in the mass market. Nokia (with its aggressive sales and marketing, and the addition of its new, low-priced offering) may be well-placed to hang on to its leadership position. Pricing will continue to be a critical factor for all, but the international brand warriors seem to have won the latest battle.

While this battle of the brands continues locally, the handsets (like everything else) are increasingly “made in China”. The country is now the biggest producer of mobiles in the world, turning out 36.8 percent of the total (304 million units). While 288 million of these were exported, only 5.8 percent were from domestic brands. Despite a few successes (see “Branded in China, Sold Everywhere”), Chinese brands have a long way to go in terms of international penetration. However, they can be expected in a shop near you before too long.

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