Why Chinese mobile phones haven't made it here, yet…

Ever wondered why Korean and Japanese mobile phones made it all the way to Europe and the US but not Chinese phones?

Until recently, the explanation was rather straightforward: Chinese phone manufacturers were not competitive in their domestic market; the market was mostly dominated by a few foreign companies like Nokia, Samsung or Motorola. Chinese companies (Bird or TCL) had a hard time capturing sizeable market shares. Fiercer criticics argued that Chinese manufacturers did not master core mobile phone technologies which resulted in a difficulty to reduce production costs.

This may be about to change! With the commoditization of multimedia features, foreign manufacturers struggle to remain competitive when compared to local vendors. The latter seem also to be more pro-active on the localization aspect (like dual SIM handsets). Competition from local firms (like Huawei or Amoi) even seems to increase in the smartphone and PDA market. For the time being Nokia appears to succesfully fight back whereas Motorola and SonyEricsson are in a more delicate situation.

So, the day when Chinese handset manufacturers have become competitive enough in all segments of their domestic market is nearing. From then on it won’t be too difficult to start attacking US and European markets with cheap and good-quality phones.

P.S.: Chinese telecom equipment supplier ZTE Corp has joined the rank of the world’s top 10 mobile phone makers in 2007, becoming the first Chinese handset marker to attain the honor