While Apple’s victory in the landmark Apple vs Samsung patent lawsuit dominated the news cycle over the weekend in the Western media, the story got more or less a subdued, understated treatment — buried deep inside the business section — in the China Daily.
Nobody should be surprised at this treatment of a matter on “non-Chinese” news. Yet I confess that I kept looking for reaction stories on the topic in the Chinese media, because I am convinced this will have large repercussions on an army of emerging Chinese Android-based smartphone vendors who don’t think twice about making knock-off, me-too mobile phones.
More specifically, the name ZTE came to my mind. Now the fourth largest mobile phone vendor in the world, ZTE could be the next rival sued by Apple.
While ZTE still may not be a household name among consumers in the West, it is the first Chinese home-grown brand to truly go global.
Gartner’s latest market data shows that ZTE trailed only Samsung (No.1), Nokia (No.2) and Apple (No.3) in global sales of mobile devices [in units] in the second quarter of 2012. Moreover, since earlier this year, ZTE has made clear an ambitious plan to double its smartphone sales in 2012.
In apparently the first story hereabouts on the fallout of the Apple-Samsung patent lawsuit, the China Daily
Tuesday (Aug. 27th) quoted Leping Huang, a telecoms analyst at Nomura International Hong Kong Ltd., who said, "In the long term, this is negative to all Android phone makers including ZTE, since US operators may become reluctant to buy Android phones unless they can make sure there is no legal risk."
ZTE’s saving grace is that the company has been already hedging bets by selling not only Android smartphones but also devices running Microsoft’s Windows phone operating system. ZTE is expected to launch Windows 8 smartphones in 2013. Chances are that ZTE will put more emphasis on Windows 8 smartphones for the U.S. market next year, instead of Android.
This is just one more data point supporting speculation that the true winner of Apple’s victory might be Microsoft, after all.
ZTE's Android smartphone deployed by MetroPCS
ZTE's Windows Phone