"Nubia’s Z5, priced at 3,456 yuan (roughly $550), is a high-end smartphone loaded with bells and whistles. But Nubia takes a pride in a few unique features. "
With a price like that ZTE is competing head to head with all big name smartphone makers. Not much room there unfortunately. Strategy already fail IMO.
"Xiaomi, coming out of nowhere, “became famous in just two years,” said Fei." There is a reason for that ... With all bells & whistles they are selling at ~300$. No one else competes in that space. ie a high end phone at 300$ price till now.
Google Nexus , although priced at that range, is not intended to sell in millions and not available in china. Hence there was a market gap for Xiaomi.
Anyways Amazon is rumoured to launch a smartphone. If true, that will be a mass produced smartphone ~300$. And there will direct competition even for Xiaomi.
with due respect, your comments are so so so US eccentric, as if whenever any US company joins to compete, China companies wil have no chance. That maybe true 15, 20 years ago. But it is increasingly no longer the case. Look at Samsung 10 years ago and look at them again today. And then how much bigger is China than Korea, in terms of talents AND market? US arrogance is going to be self-destructive, and as an American myself i feel sad.
FYI I am from Asia. Born,raised, educated in Asia. Got all my 3 EE degrees from Asia. Worked in 3 major economies in Asia. and now working in Asia. Use a Samsung S3 phone. Talk about assumptions :)
I didn't say Asia don't have any talent. If I said so, I would be talking about myself :). You are putting words in my mouth.
Now to simplify matters, What I said was if any new company/market has to get established, it has to provide a product at a lower price+ higher quality or atleast as good as the existing product/market. Take the case of automobiles. When Japanese automobile makers disrupted the US market/GM/Ford it was the lower price+good quality did the magic. Or take the example of Samsung. Samsung disrupted Japanese Electronics vendors because they provided high quality products at a LOWER price than Sony/Sharp and other Japanese companies. Same is the case with Xiaomi ie they made a good quality phone much cheaper than Apple/Samsung.
If a newcomer wants to charge me the same price as Apple/Samsung then they better have something radical which in this case, they dont. So myself and people with common sense will continue choosing established smartphone vendors like Samsung/Apple/Sony instead of Nubia.
Permit me to regale you with a relevant joke. Two Russian businessmen meet and talk:
"Thanks, I got it in Paris for $2000"
"You fool, you could get the same tie in Moscow for $4000!"
The point of this story is that the 'tall and rich' young people seek products that confer status on the buyer and therefore high price is not an issue. I don't think it makes sense but I suspect that's the target audience of the Xiaomi smartphone.
I think we do understand that pricing is one of the issues. And yes, that may well affect the success or failure of Nubia. But the point of the story goes behyond that. Nobody in China, including traditional ODMs, is satisfied for being just a manufacturer of a low, low cost whitebox based on the spec that was given to them.
What Huawei's Ascend or ZTE's Nubia are doing in recent years will change the fabric of the Chinese electronics industry, in my opinion.
I think it should be predictable that the ODMs in China take the "next step." And become OEMs in their own right. If anything, I would ask, what took them so long?
The tricky part here is going to be using IP of someone else, in their own branded products. It's not so easy to divorce oneself from everything one learned yesterdy, as an ODM, even in the best of circumstances.
For companies like ZTE or Huawei who are trying to establish their own brands on business-to-consumer market, IP is the least of the tricky part. Because they have them. Trickier part is to learn how to do marketing effectively. Following Apple's playbook isn't it, because they are no Apple.
Generic competitors are always forced to go to the lowest price; branded products have the potential to charge a premium for the benefits they offer. The Japanese saw this when they moved from selling "cheap" products to offering premium electronic and automotive products. It seems inevitable that the Chinese will try do do the same thing.
Great coverage, Junko! It's rare to see any in-depth interviews with these sorts of folks.
It will be interesting to see whether ZTE will make any smartphone silicon like Huawei. And I wonder, what's so cool about the Xiomi phones.