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Chinese phone makers have been making their global ambitions known at this week’s Mobile World Congress wireless show taking place in Barcelona in Spain.
The success of emerging Chinese smartphone vendors such as Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE is being put down to the development of mid-range, cheaper devices.
Nestling among the big players such as Apple, Samsung, LG and Sony – Chinese companies like Huawei and Alcatel are vying to steal the limelight. Xiaomi too is making it’s European debut with the Mi5 smartphone.
But the major players are waking up to the threat. Sony is unveiling its new Xperia X smartphone – a mid-range model.
Nicole Scott, Editor of Mobilegeeks, says like Chinese manufacturers, Sony is also targeting people who want a phone that works, at an affordable price.
“Everybody is launching a mid-range phone, because it is all about pricing, versus not necessarily having high specs but having a phone that just works really really well. And we are definitely seeing that at the Sony launch, with the launch of the Xperia X which is a mid-range phone. But Sony is doing it with their own style, it looks good, everything feels high-end, but the specifications are quite budget. And that is definitely in competition to what we are seeing from the Chinese manufacturers.”
Also making an impact at the show in Barcelona is Chinese company ZTE, with the launch of the ZTE Blade V7.
The new smartphone will be selling for about 250 euros in Germany, Spain, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Mexico by this summer.
Adam Zeng, CEO of ZTE mobiles, says the company is gaining strength in key markets, which they hope to use to gain traction globally.
“In future, our strategy is to leverage our success in China and the US, and the European markets, to expand into additional strategic countries around the globe. We hope that in the next three to five years, ZTE can be one of the top three smartphone vendors in select markets.”
Beijing based company Lenovo is also looking to expand worldwide. The company, which is currently fifth in the global market share race, is launching the Vibe K5 Plus at the show – a 149-U.S. dollar phone only available in emerging markets.
Neil Mawston, smartphone market analyst at Strategy Analytics, warns that no company can be safe as the market is constantly changing.
“The market historically for the last 30 years, in mobiles, has always changed. Companies like Siemens from Germany used to make phones, now they don’t. So the market always changes.”
“I think how it is changing at the moment is that we are seeing a swing from developed markets to developing markets. So, more Chinese brands. More Indian brands. And I think potentially also more African brands in the future as well.”
This year’s Mobile World Congress has attracted around 2100 exhibitors worldwide.
The event runs until this Wednesday.