China’s booming smartphone market, which is set this year to overtake the United States as the world’s largest, a host of little known local manufacturers are flooding the Chinese market with cheap phones to squeeze market share from U.S.A giant Apple Inc’s iPhone.
In the latest local challenge to the iPhone, Xiaomi Technology on Thursday launches the successor to its popular MiOne smartphone, which is expected to have top end specifications exceeding those of the iPhone 4S at around half the price.
Industry researcher IDC estimates that in China last year, smartphones costing less than $200 made up 40 % of shipments, while devices costing $700 and more accounted for 11 % of the market. Apple releases a single iPhone model a year at a price around $800 equivalent to about two months pay for an urban Chinese, who make up half of China’s 1.3 billion population. Analysts say the real growth in China is in cheaper smartphones where a wide variety of models at different prices appeal to first-time buyers.
Mirroring Apple’s annual worldwide developers conference (WWDC), where devotees would pay to listen to Steve Jobs showcasing new products, the informally-clad Lei will charge MiOne fans 199 yuan to attend the Beijing launch, with the proceeds going to charity.
The above story is replicated in India also. Of late, Indian handsets makers like Micromax and Karbonn are on a roll as far as product launches are concerned. For instance, Micromax has announced two Android smartphones in two weeks and more announcements are in the pipeline. Like China, majority of prospective buyers cannot afford to have the luxury to possess expensive devices like Apple’s iPhone or high-end Android phones of Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony etc. They have the option to go in for economical models of Indian handsets suppliers and their range for reasonably ok smartphone for first time buyers starts from Rs. 5000.
Although, above two companies have not disclosed their exact figures of smartphones being sold by them so far. One thing is clear that they are satisfied with the numbers achieved by them and are aggressively promoting their smartphones in two and three-tier cities and in rural areas. They have huge market to tap and opportunities for their smartphones are endless.