The first domestically developed mobile phone made its debut in the mainland last month amid some controversy. Huaxia No 1, the GSM handset manufactured by Xiahua Mobile Telecom Equipment, is billed as the first mainland mobile phone and an inexpensive alternative, priced at only 1,800 yuan (about HK$1,674), to the more expensive brands of Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola. The phone's technology is also described as being in the middle or top range of mobile phones. The handset, however, was merely a Taiwanese mobile phone with a Huaxia label stuck on it, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. The only differences between the Taiwanese model and Huaxia No 1 were the label and the ring; Huaxia No 1's ringer played several different Chinese songs, the newspaper said. The original Huaxia No 1 last year did not pass the European Union's FTA certification. Pressed to have a phone ready, the company bought handsets from a Taiwanese mobile-phone company. Xiahua general manager Guo Zeli told Beijing Youth Daily: 'The action [of Xiahua] does not violate international practice and the Chinese Government has not prevented them from doing so, either.' Mr Guo said the phone's essence lay in its software, of which Xiahua was the sole proprietor. The software was developed by Guangzhou Communications Institute, a partner with Xiamen Overseas Chinese Electronics Corp in the joint-venture Xiahua Mobile Telecom Equipment. Sichuan Changhong Electric, the mainland's largest maker of televisions, was involved in the joint venture. It pulled out of the project less than a week before the phone was launched in January, giving the incompletion of the project as a reason. There are 23 million mobile-phone users in the mainland. The Ministry of Information Industry, however, wants to boost the number to 39.68 million by the end of the year. Many mainland corporations are trying to get into the mobile phone market, dubbed the fastest growing in the world. Konka, TCL and Haier are in the process of developing their own mobile phones.