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China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers targeting the emerging markets

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Update: China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendors to account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.

In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.

China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium- and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.

China handset makers shifting to smartphones, pushing sales to emerging markets, say sources [Feb 13, 2012]

Demand for 2G feature phones in the China market is expected to subside in the next three years, pushing China-based handset makers to focus on the production of entry-level to mid-range smartphones and also to promote overseas sales, according to industry sources.

Sales of handsets in China grew by 10-15% on year to 260-280 million units in 2011, of which smartphones accounted for 70 million units.

However, total handset sales in the market are expected to drop to 240-250 million units in 2012, of which smartphone models will top 100-120 million units, increasing 43-70% from the previous year, said the sources, adding that handset sales are likely to remain flat in 2013-2014.

With a shrinking share in the 2G segment in the home market, China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers are strengthening their ties with retail chain operators or branded vendors in emerging markets, the sources noted.

China-based maker G’Five currently takes up the third-rank title in the India handset market with 7.5% share, trailing after Nokia’s 37.2% and Samsung’s 14.9%, according to data compiled by ABI.

Other brands in India, including Micromax, Spice, Karbonn, Maxx Mobile, Lava and Zen Mobile, have also maintained close ties with China-based handset makers, the sources added.

Earlier information on Micromax, Maxx, Lava and Videocon

(From: The precursor of 2012 smartphone war: Nokia Lumia vs. Samsung Omnia W in India[Jan 3, 2012])

India Handset Shipments, Vendor Market Share, Strategies and Key Trends Q3’2011 [Research and Markets report release announcement, Jan 4, 2012]

This report provides an in-depth assessment of handset shipments, vendor market share, strategies and key trends in Q3’2011 for the mobile handsets industry in India. Mobile handset shipments in India have been increasing and they were highest in 2010 with 146.93 million units. The shipments in 2011 are expected to reach all time high as the shipment for 3 quarters in 2011 is 125.32 million units. By the end of Q4’2011, a yearly figure of 162 million units is expected.

India has been one of the major players in the Asia Pacific handset shipments and since 2009 India has been able to capture more than 20% of the overall Asia Pacific shipments, with a market share of over There has been quarter on quarter growth in the handset shipments in India barring a few exceptions in two quarters.

Local manufacturing has been very beneficial for mobile handset makers in India and many Indian players are manufacturing the product locally. All the other players, who do not have the local manufacturing, are planning to start the manufacturing to get away with the problems of currency exchange rates and supply side spikes.

Nokia has been the top player in the Indian mobile handset market and it has achieved a market share of 29.44% in 2011 for all the three quarters. Nokia has been losing its share to new entrants and local players in the Indian market. Samsung is coming strongly and it is in the second place with 14.34% market share. The share of Samsung is up by 14.63% from 2010. Though all the players are trying to gain market share but still Nokia is way above all of them and it will take a long time before anyone else can take the lead position. Local players Micromax, Maxx, Lava and Videocon are gaining market share and most of them have launched low cost phones with features such as dual-SIM, long battery life etc. Local players also have the advantage of local manufacturing.

Earlier information on G’Five

(From: Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple![Feb 21, 2011])

So ZTE and Huawei are not alone. Here is another example, G’Fiveso far known only in India but expanding rapidly both in India and into the other parts of the world:

India Mobile Handset shipments grow 6.7%, to 101 million units in 12 Months ending June 2009 [IDC India, Oct 9, 2009]

Market intelligence firm, IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2009, September 2009 release issued today states that in terms of units shipped Nokia had the largest share of 56.8%, followed by Samsung with a 7.7% share while LG stood third with a 5.4% share in the 12-month period ended June 2009.

New Vendors Make a Mark
A number of new vendors entered the India mobile handsets market in the last 12 to 18 months to carve a niche for themselves by offering feature-rich (dual SIM card, full QWERTY keyboard) and application-rich (IM enabled) mobile handsets at attractive price points. They also introduced entry-level models for the ‘price sensitive’ Indian consumer.

IDC’s India quarterly mobile handsets tracker 2Q 2010 [Sept 28, 2010] (some emphasis is mine):

According to Mr. Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President-Research, IDC India,“In the recent quarters several new players successfully launched their own devices at significantly lower Average Selling Values (ASVs) in the price sensitive India market. Such handsets found ready acceptance amongst first time buyers, especially from small towns and villages.”

This influx of new brands led to a spurt in overall market and saw ‘emerging vendors’ corner as much as 33.2% of total India mobile handset shipments in 2Q 2010. The Finnish handset maker Nokia retained its No.1 spot with a market share of 36.3% in terms of units shipped. The Korean electronic giant Samsung retained the No. 2 position, while Chinese brand G’Five emerged as the No. 3 player.

According to IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2010, September 2010 release, the number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 35 in 2Q 2010 and they together garnered 33.2% of total shipments for the first time during the April-June 2010 quarter. This represented a manifold increase from five (5) new vendors representing a 0.9% combined share of units shipped in the January-March 2008 quarter.

During the last 6 months (January-June 2010) the top five mobile handset vendors in India were Nokia, Samsung, G’Five, Micromax and Spice.

July-September 2010 mobile phone shipments (sales) log 3.6% quarter-on-quarter growth to
cross 40 million units: ‘Emerging Vendors’ capture 41.2% combined share [IDC India, Dec 29, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

… the Finnish handset maker Nokia had the largest share of 31.5%* in terms of units shipped during 3Q 2010.
The Chinese brand G’Five emerged as No. 2 player in terms of unit shipments market share and Korean handset manufacturer Samsung stood at No. 3 in 3Q 2010.

The India mobile handsets market continued to grow in 3Q 2010 as well to record a quarter-on-quarter (3Q 2010 over 2Q 2010) growth of 3.6%* to touch 40.08 million units in the quarter, according to IDC India. The year is expected to end with total mobile handset sales of 155.9 million units.

The number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 68 and they together garnered 41.2%* of total shipments (sales) for the first time during the July-Sep 2010 quarter.

Smartphone prices continued to drop through the year and as competition increased, devices were made available by vendors at successively lower price points. So, while 80%* of total India smartphone sales were below the ASV (Average Sales Value) of Rs. 18,000 in 2Q 2010, this proportion increased to 90%* in 3Q 2010.

Top G’Five mobile phones in India [Jan 13, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Which are the top two cell phone brands today in India in terms of shipment volumes? Nokia and Samsung, many of us would like to think, right? Or maybe Sony…or LG…or Micromax which has been advertising quite a bit.

Not quite, folks. A recent report from leading market intelligence firm IDC India reaffirms the Finnish telecom giant’s status as the leading cell-phone player in the country, with Nokia accounting for 31.5% of the domestic cell-phone market during the July-September period last year. But, surprisingly, a little known Chinese brand called G’Five has made it to the second spot by capturing a 10.6% market share–with Samsung coming in third at 8.2%!

Sounds shocking, right? How can a Chinese player, without any big-ticket advertising campaign or any celebrity as its brand ambassador, manage to create such a big impact in the cut-throat Indian cell phone industry–without any fanfare? Well, the answer lies in G’Five’s strategy of rolling out a bevy of feature-rich phones at competitive prices (in the Rs.1,400-Rs.7,000 range), targeted exclusively at urban first-time buyers and those in semi-urban and rural areas looking to upgrade from basic phones.

So if you are looking to buy a G’Five mobile phone, here is a list of eight affordable (costing not more than Rs.5,000) models from around 26 G’Five phones currently available in India (in the order of ascending prices)– with each of them having their own USPs.

G’Five D10 Price: Rs.1,820 [US$40.4] … G’Five X5 Price: Rs.1,899 [US$42.1] … G’Five N92 Price: Rs.2,249 [US$49.9] … G’Five i310 Price: Rs. 2,400 [US$53.2] … G’Five M33 Price: Rs.2,499 [US$55.4] … G’Five L600 Price: Rs 2,700 [US$59.9] … G’Five X33+ Price: Rs.3,786 [US$83.9] … G’Five V60 Price: Rs. 4,490 [US$99.6] …

And these phones are not crap as you can even see from their pictures (for features info it is worth to go into the article).

G'Five D10 - i310 - V60

Note that to target the upper part of this range Social networking is Nokia’s latest mobile strategy [Feb 17, 2010] (which the above phones do not have):

The company’s latest launch on Nokia X2-01 mobile, at Rs 4,459 [US$99.2] is one such product. “QWERTY is one of the fastest growing mobile phone category in the world due to the rise in messaging and social networking. The Nokia X2-01 makes it easy to set up chat and email direct from the mobile phone,” said Nokia India General Manager-South T S Sridhar. “This means superfast access to your favourite Ovi Mail, Ovi Chat or other popular accounts.”

As young users want to stay connected with friends on the move, instant messaging is rapidly on the rise. With messaging devices like Nokia X2- 01, we are empowering the youth, he said. The handset also provides live updates from social networks such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter directly from home screen. The Nokia X2-01 is Series 40 2G phone with VGA camera and FM radio. It has one click access the music player and has 3.5mm AV connector ideal for headphones or speakers. It also has Bluetooth and can support up to an 8GB micro SD memory card and has a standby battery time of up to 20 days, he claimed. For affordable access to internet, Nokia has also tied up with country’s largest mobile service provider Airtel which allows 100 mb of free data download per month for 12 months to its subscribers on this phone. Under this scheme one can access Face Book, and OVI Chat and Ovi Mail free of charges.

Gfive Mobile Phones (by Devika Rajpali)

The company of GFive is from China. The investors of the company are a syndicate named Zerone group that of the most esteemed OEM factories that boost of producing around 100 million mobile phones. The GFive mobile phones are the hottest running brand in indisputable imei china mobiles. The company has now established itself completely in the field of tech support, repairing and software installation. You will find the GFive mobile phone to be very stylish with large number of mobile phones to offer to its consumers. The company claims to have experience, confidence and data along with the in-depth insight of their Chinese mobile phones.

The KingTech Telecom (Shenzhen) Co Ltd. is behind the brand with KingTech Telecom (HK) Limited behind the export activities. As far as India is concerned the arrangement will be developed into a stronger local representation as Victor Infotech ties up with King Tech Telecom [Nov 11, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

Victor Infotech Ltd has tied up with King Tech Telecom Ltd (a Hong Kong-based telecom company) to form a joint venture company — Asian Telecom Ltd. The majority stake of 51% in the new company will be held by King Tech Telecom Ltd and the balance 49% equity will be held by Victor Infotech Ltd.

Asian Telecom Ltd., the new joint venture company, will come into being with immediate effect to launch the G’Five brand of mobile phones in the Indian market. The company plans to take the G’Five brand of mobiles to new heights in India and achieve 20% of the market share in the next two years.

As part of the collaboration, Kingtech Telecom shall manufacture the mobile phones and Victor Infotech will be responsible for distribution and marketing of the phone in India. Initially Kingtech Telecom will manufacture the Indian specific mobile phones in Hong Kong [rather in Shenzen] and gradually the same shall be manufactured in India.

The Indian mobile phone market is growing very fast. The company expects the sales of the mobile phones to grow 5 times in the next two years and plans to take advantage of this growth to gain the maximum market share. To achieve this, the company shall introduce many variations in its mobile phones, which shall be specific to the needs of the Indian consumer.

Meanwhile for other parts of the world a new sales and marketing operation has been set up: GLX mobile – G’FIVE Mobile’s Brother Company [Dec 14, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

A new member of Zerone Group called GLX mobile has been founded. With its full name as GLX International Limited, GLX mobile is dedicated in global distribution of GLX mobile phone.

Since G’FIVE is a member of Zerone Group, G’FIVE and GLX are brother companies. The new-founded GLX focuses on international markets, especially emerging markets. GLX mobile covers the whole range of mobile phone user market, from low-end to high-end with stylish and unique handsets.

GLX is aiming to create golden life for worldwide consumers with all ranges of mobile phones.

And the GLX company’s website indicates that it has taken over (almost all) the rest of the existing G’Five business network:

GLX Mobile initial business network

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4 Comments

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  2. […] 28, 2012] – MWC 2012 day 1 news [Feb 27, 2012]: Samsung and Nokia [Feb 28 – March 1, 2012] – China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers targeting the emerging markets [Feb 13, 2012] -Nokia CEO: salespeople to deliver true WP7 retail experience supported by improved […]

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  4. […] now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21, 2011 – Aug 10, 2012] – China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers targeting the emerging markets [Feb 13 – Apr 17, 2012] – China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, […]

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