Nubia’s first-year plan  is
dedicated to building a strong Nubia brand in China. “We want to make it
as attractive as possible,” said Fei. “China is a tough market. But if
we can win China, we can win anywhere in the world.”
year, the company will test the waters both in the U.S. by leveraging
its operator connections, and in Russia by pursuing a strategy based on
channels — which in Russia are more powerful than operators.
was born from a small team of young engineers at ZTE who wanted a phone
based on their own dreams – instead of just following operator specs.
“There were about 10 of us in the beginning. We worked day and night,”
said Fei. “We wanted to design a phone that would make people curious
and say, ‘let me try it.’”
Nubia CEO, stressing that software is the key, shows off a wallpaper app based on 'crowd sourcing'
Today, Nubia’s engineering team has
between 300 and 400 employees. Eighty percent are focused on software
development, the rest on hardware, according to Fei.
Nubia phones and ZTE phones [for operators] are based on the Android
platform, there is a fair amount of shared engineering resources between
the two, according to Fei. In fact, the experience, expertise and
knowledge accumulated at ZTE’s handset division -- where Fei spent seven
years before heading up the Nubia group -- is giving Nubia a leg up,
explained Fei, in terms of partnering with the supply chain, third-party
app developers and key device vendors like Qualcomm.
connection turns out to be also critical in shortening the time to
market for Nubia’s products and ensuring a steady supply for key
components such as Sony’s CMOS image sensors and Sharp’s full-HD
resolution LCD screen, he added.
Asked what’s next after Z5, Fei
said Nubia hasn’t decided on screen size yet but it is interested in
adding a new user interface like gesture controls, by using MEMS. A lot
of new features will come from the development of software, he added.
“The key is that we must hide technical complexity.”
Fei, who is
said to have a million followers on Sina Weibo (China’s twitter),
acknowledged that he has slacked off on his Weibo blog posts. A series
of heated public arguments on Weibo — between executives at Xiomi and
rival Huawei about their smartphones — is getting just about everyone’s
attention here these days.
That might explain Fei’s less frequent blogs
lately, said an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Fei, a great advocate of social media, said, “You can use Weibo to get
your messages out, but you can’t control it.”