Mobile World Congress 2016

CheetahPhone sees another Chinese smartphone vendor join a saturated global market

Chinese mobile security specialist Cheetah Mobile is targeting EU countries with 199-euro (US$219) device

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, 7:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, 7:56pm

Chinese developer Cheetah Mobile, the world’s leading mobile security and utility apps provider, has entered the crowded global smartphone market with a branded Android mobile device targeted at European Union countries.

“Cheetah Mobile’s mission is to make the mobile experience speedier, safer and simpler, and CheetahPhone stays true to that,” chief executive Fu Sheng said in a statement during the launch of the device at this week’s Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

The New York-listed company teamed up with Shenzhen-based electronics manufacturer Cubot, which develops low-cost smartphones, accessories and smart wearable devices for markets across Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

“By joining forces, we’ve produced a Cheetah device that’s optimised for beauty, speed, and endurance,” Cubot vice-president Richard Meng said.

The CheetahPhone has the latest version of the Android operating system, high-definition touch display, 13-megapixel back and 8MP front cameras, and fingerprint-recognition sensor.

It is also pre-loaded with Cheetah Mobile’s Clean Master all, which was designed to clean junk files from a smartphone, optimise the device’s memory, manage other installed apps and protect against viruses.

The device will sell for 199 euros (US$219) on Amazon in the European Union in the next few months, according to Cheetah Mobile.

It will enter a tough market where the margins of many smartphone suppliers continue to get squeezed.

Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner, said in a report last week that aggressive pricing from Chinese brands in the mid-range and entry-level segments has “led to consumers upgrading more quickly to affordable smartphones”.

Cheetah Mobile is also one of the top-three mobile game developers in the world, but no information was provided on whether there will also be pre-loaded games in its branded smartphone.

The company recently announced plans to establish its new headquarters in the United States, build up its gaming business and pursue major “big data” initiatives under new chief technology officer Charles Fan.