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Rise of Chinese Smartphones

There used to be dozens of phone makers. Europeans will remember Bosch and Sendo, while Americans may hold back a tear thinking of Palm Pilots. Meanwhile, the Japanese market was a world apart – dominated by Fuji, Panasonic, Sanyo and others. Then it all got a bit boring. Thank the Chinese manufacturers for making it interesting again.

The business got expensive and consumers aspired to a small number of premium brands. For years there was Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, RIM and Samsung. In time, they were displaced by Apple, Samsung, HTC, RIM and LG.

Now, it’s all up for grabs again. The emergence of cheap components, open source Android and rampaging emerging economies has shaken everything up.

Given that many companies manufacture their phones in China, it appears they have picked up on a few things and are using them towards their advantage. For the most part, it’s working. The features you want, without little to no compromise. An affordable phone that’s feels and looks their premium competitors. In a short time, Chinese companies have almost risen out of nowhere.

According to a study by Trendforce, Chinese phone makers represented six of the global top ten in smartphones. The brands are: Lenovo, Xiaomi, ZTE, TCL/Alcatel, Huawei and Coolpad.

The most popular brand to reach this side of the world is Huawei, with the like of Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson featuring in their promotional material. For a brand that is not Samsung or Apple, Huawei very much end up as a potential phone for consumers.

Companies to look out for:

  • TCL
  • Coolpad
  • Gionee
  • Huawei
  • Lenovo
  • OnePlus
  • Oppo
  • Tecno
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE