Chinese phone makers play smart to stay in game

High-performance devices at competitive prices key to winning market share from foreign rivals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 3:00pm

It is a busy season for smartphone makers on the mainland.

Xiaomi Technology, one of the most successful home-grown makers, launched its third-generation mobile phone in Beijing yesterday, three days after Meizu, another player, unveiled its latest model for the market.

They will compete against global giants including Samsung Electronics, Apple and Sony, which are also set to launch new products this month.

Lei Jun, the chief executive of Xiaomi, said the new Android-based model was "the fastest-working smartphone" available, thanks to the high-performance central and graphic processing units provided by US technology firms Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Video: The launch of Xiaomi, China's answer to the iPhone

"Xiaomi's smartphone has covered almost all the top technologies in the world," Lei said, adding it would be available from the middle of next month.

Over the past 10 months, he said, the firm had sold 9.2 million second-generation Xiaomi phones.

At the product launch yesterday was Hugo Barra, a former vice-president of Google's Android division, who joined Xiaomi last week. Barra is expected to help the three-year-old, privately held Xiaomi achieve its plan to expand overseas.

Xiaomi also launched a 47-inch smart television. Users can connect it with smartphones, computers and tablets using Bluetooth technology and download apps, play games and watch online movies on it.

Also yesterday, Samsung debuted its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in Germany, while Apple plans to launch a new iPhone, and Sony its Xperia Z1, later this month.

Against these foreign brands, mainland firms such as Xiaomi and Meizu have won market share, thanks to their strategy of selling high-performance products at a competitive price.

The new Xiaomi smartphone is priced at 1,999 yuan (HK$2,533) for the 16G version and 2,499 yuan for the 64G. The Xiaomi smartTV will be sold for 2,999 yuan each.

The mainland smartphone market was led by Samsung and Lenovo, data from Canalys shows. Xiaomi ranked sixth.