SMARTPHONES

China’s Meizu launches trendy m2 for under US$100 to win over young smartphone shoppers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 July, 2015, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 July, 2015, 7:46pm

China’s Meizu launched another trendy smartphone in Beijing on Wednesday, the m2, and announced a sales record in the second quarter as it continues to slowly close the gap with top domestic rival Xiaomi.

The 16-gigabytle model offers a five-inch 720p fully laminated screen and retails for 599 yuan (US$96), making it 50 to 70 per cent cheaper than the brand’s higher-end MX4 and MX4 Pro models, which have both emerged as best sellers this year in China. 

The m2, which follows hot on the heels of the m2 note, released last month, runs Android 5.1 and aims to attract a similarly young demographic, the company said. 

It comes equipped with Samsung’s 1.3-megapixel CMOS image sensor and includes built-in software to make images look more attractive, which has proven popular with young women, especially in China.

In the wake of a recent backlash against memory-clogging, pre-installed apps, the company said on its official webpage that is kept these low but the memory high, with 2GB of onboard RAM in addition to Samsung's high-speed flash memory.

The new smartphone supports two 4G SIM cards and evokes the iPhone 5 due to its general appearance and the use of similar shell colours - white, pink, grey and sky blue. It comes in a plastic case.

Speaking at the launch, CEO Bai Yongxiang revealed that Meizu sold 8.9 million smartphones in the first six months of 2015, marking year-on-year growth of 540 per cent.

By way of comparison, Xiaomi sold more than 34 million smartphones over the same period, up 33 per cent.

Analysts have noted the growing competition between Meizu and China’s top smartphone brand, Xiaomi, often dubbed “China’s Apple” due to the clone-like nature of some of its products.

With Meizu’s m2 note and Xiaomi’s Redmi 2, for example, the brands are directly competing for consumers hunting for a smartphone in the US$130 range.

The former got a boost in February when Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested US$590 million to support its development of innovative new models.

Meizu has been well-received by young students and professionals, especially women, in China. Xiaomi tends to appeal more to men in lower income brackets while Huawei targets businessmen and those with more disposable income.

But while Meizu is channelling its energies into serving its domestic market, Xiaomi and Huawei are now making more aggressive moves to tap customers on foreign shores.