The Chinese mobile phone market is the largest in the world. According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), there were 756.6 million mobile subscribers as of the end of January 2010. And with this many mobile users out there, the competition can get pretty fierce.
Three major mobile carriers battle it out for market dominance-China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Backed by the Chinese government, China Mobile holds a significant lead and has chosen the TD-SCDMA protocol for 3G services. China Unicom is going with the W-CDMA/UMTS protocol for their 3G services, while China Telecom uses CDMA2000.
Then there are the phones themselves. More handsets are produced in China than in any other country in the world. Market Avenue's "2010 Report on China's Mobile-Phone Chip (MPC) Market," China produced over 750 million mobile phones in 2008. What does that mean for the Chinese consumer? Choice. The market is flooded with major international brands, Chinese brands and of course knock-off phones (sometimes referred to as "Shanzhai" phones).
International phones include the popular iPhone and BlackBerry and along with those, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola all sell to the Chinese market, with Nokia still the sales leader in China. Not resting on their laurels in this unique and very large market, international brands have stepped-up with custom offerings destined to start out in the Chinese market. Nokia, Samsung and now Motorola are currently producing phone models exclusively for China.
With the wealth of experience that Chinese manufacturers have, it makes sense that Chinese-branded phones are getting better. The likes of Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE are recognized around the world, but other successful manufacturers sell to the Chinese market. Some of these manufacturers have started to push their phones specifically to other countries in the developing world as the potential sales for lower end phones are large. India in particular is one of the more lucrative target markets.