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Chinese smartphone invasion: will you defect?

Chinese smartphone invasion: will you defect?

Being one of the lucky few who acquired a lovely new handset for Christmas (HTC Desire X, thank you very much) I found myself in some of the major phone retailers over the Christmas period and noticed – while browsing – a new, unfamiliar brand; Huawei.

‘Hu?’ I hear you ask. Well, I asked exactly the same thing. Once I clocked it, I started seeing it everywhere. What is this new-fangled smartphone? And where on earth does it come from? Well, my friends, I found some answers to these questions of mine and discovered that it comes from China. Of course! And it won’t be the only wun from the People’s Republic to grace our shelves for long. Let mi assure yu.

With the recent release of Apple, Samsung and Nokia’s figures and profits from the last quarter of 2012, smartphone rivalry is on the brain. Combine this with my new discovery and a little look around the web and I find myself sure of a Chinese smartphone invasion. About time too.

As it stands our best known and well-loved brands still out sell any Chinese brands. But I’m not so sure how long this will last. China surpassed the United States in 2012 to become the world's largest smartphone market by volume. Smartphone shipments to China in the third quarter of 2012 hit a record 60 million. China has 100m more smartphones than it did in 2011. In addition to this, demand for more affordable smartphones is growing and Chinese handset makers, already aware of the trend have well begun to release low-priced Android devices. One result of this is that Apple – unlike Samsung - with its high prices, is lagging behind in China; becoming the phone only of the country’s wealthiest elite.

The top five brands (most popular first) in China today are the following: Samsung, Lenovo, Cool Pad, Huawei, and ZTE. OK we all know about Samsung, so I won’t bore you with that but I will mention the most popular Chinese brand, Lenovo. Lenovo is a thriving PC company but has invested in the production of phones and is seeing growth. Its smartphone market share in China rose from just 1.7% in the third quarter of 2011 to 14.8% in the third quarter of 2012. Led by its popular LePhones smartphone, it surpassed Apple's 6.9% share of the Chinese market and trailed only Samsung with a 16.7% market share in the last year. It is located at the mid to lower end of the market (which is exactly where it wants to be; away from competition with existing global brands).

About 70% of all smartphone sales in China now come from local brands and it currently has more than a billion mobile phone users. Pretty staggering.

CEO of Huawei, Richard Yu revealed that a key aspect to their campaign to conquer the US was the launch of their two new phones: the Ascend Mate and the Ascend D2. The Ascend Mate has the world's largest display at 6.1 inches. It runs Android 4.1 and is dust and water resistant. It also features an impressive 4,050mAh battery that should allow its user longer usage time between recharges.

The company claim that the Ascend D2 is the world's most powerful smartphone, Yu labeling it the ‘dream phone’. It sports a 5-inch 1080p display, a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU, Android "Jelly Bean," a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 3,000mAh battery. All sounds pretty good to me.

And all this comes at a time when the current smartphone market is in a state of flux; Nokia having returned to profit and the rivalry between Samsung and Apple as strong as ever. Now, you might think I’m totally prawn-crackers, but I’m not alone in thinking we might well be seeing a lot more of these brands in the future. In fact I'm in some pretty amazing company. Jeff Lotman, the CEO of Global Icons, an agency that helps companies build and license their brands also thinks so:

‘The thing that's amazing is these are huge companies, and they have a lot of power, but in the United States nobody has heard of them and they're having trouble gaining traction, but it's not impossible. Samsung was once known for making crappy, low-end phones and cheap TVs. Now they're seen as a top TV and smartphone brand’

See! I’m sure you’ll be getting your own LePhone or Huawei too one day, you know. Betcha. But, while you’re still totally in love with your new iPhone, HTC or Samsung Galaxy S3, hu knows wen that’ll be.

Oh and please remember; don’t forget, if you do decide to defect to a Chinese mobile then you can recycle your old handset with us for quick and easy cash. And the best price – guaranteed! https://www.onrecycle.co.uk/. And don't forget to 'like' us on Facebook!