A Look in a Beijing Subway Provides a Glimpse of Why China Leads Global Smartphone Market

November 27, 2014

8:00 pm

I am on the subway and looking around and find that about 70% of passengers are holding their smartphones to do various things. Among all smartphone brands, we have to admit that iPhone was first known by Chinese people and opened the door for other brands’ smartphones into China market. The smartphone revolution began with Jobs’ idea, that is, “Sometimes people do not know what they really want until you present their needs to them. That’s why iPhone comes into the world.”


subway smartphone China


Now smartphones play a vital role in Chinese people’s life. And why? Because for individuals, smartphones can be a book, a school, a TV, a game player, a map, a lasting bond with their families, lovers and friends whenever they want to see them or chat with them; for profit or nonprofit organizations, application software afford them platform to show and promote their products (mainly for garment and catering industry), run their business (such as Hujiang on-line school), spread and share their valuable ideas (like TED speech), and so forth.

Before the age of smartphones, mobile phones are just an instrument to call each other, send messages, and listen music. The function is so easy that people would not carry them in hand all the time for they had no reason to do that. Then iPhone emerged, with its attractive exterior and new exciting functions, impacting the mobile phone market in China. Then one after another, those existing brands or new brands of mobile phones started to release their smartphones to march into the huge and promising smartphone market in China.

The competition is fierce and each brand has its own core competitive strategy to seize the market. Apple, undoubtedly, is so famous and has a lot of faithful fans who are enchanted by its products. With its incessant innovation and development, brand effect, high price, exclusive ISO system, iPhone always makes their customers feel that they are fashion, special, charming if they own it. Unconsciously Apple has achieved a psychological hint on their buyers, something like “buy me and you will be different.”(While the truth is iPhone becomes so-called ‘street phone’ because you can find 6-8 people of 10 having iPhone, so it is not uncommon, but the holders will be proud and satisfied with it, it’s a paradox.) But anyway, iPhone successfully take a big share of China smartphone market.

Samsung, a representative of the smartphones with Android system, also win a fair numbers in the market. Though Samsung is cheaper than iPhone, it also has very useful system–Android, and some people will feel more comfortable and confident to handle Android system, considering the system is more convenient and effective than Iphone’s. Besides, Samsung gives buyers many options in selecting the size, color, design way of its exterior, in this respect, Samsung can help their customers to show their individuality by the choosing of phones. The similar brands like Samsung have Sony, Lenovo, Huawei, etc., they have common grounds like ladder price according to different model, colorful form, quantity production and easy to get.

Then another interesting brand Xiaomi appears. As a new smartphone brand, Xiaomi was facing a very tough market competition at the beginning, but with its fantastic design and function, Xiaomi also played “hard to get” to win customers’ curiosity and bring them about a satisfying feeling when they got the phone from the limited selling. Of course, the price, quality and after-sale service of Xiaomi are all very competitive comparing with other brands, and owning a handsome share of smartphones market in China.

However, no matter which brand people choose as their smartphones, the revolution has achieved a big success in China, going deep into every aspect of people’s life. Just like I said before, both for individual and all walks of companies, smartphones make our life easier and more colorful, and sometimes give us inspiration to be creative or make us think and reflect. Moreover, smartphones offer companies more opportunities to get profit or have more influence on the public, but at the same time, more challenge also comes.

So in short, smartphones is like a world, containing everything one wants to find, feel and learn. Only if one dares to think and create can those ideas show up on the phone and shape the world.

By Daxue Consulting – SJ Grand

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Thibaud Andre is a French consultant working at Chinese market research firm Daxue Consulting. He is passionate about Chinese culture and likes to share insights about the many emerging markets of the Middle Kingdom.