MWC 2018

Discover China’s Mobile Market: The Rules, the Players and the Game Plan

Nobody puts China in a corner. Despite the U.S. government’s requests to prohibit the selling of Chinese handsets or the ZTE ban to conduct operations on U.S. soil ,  the country’s mobile market remains the largest and probably the strongest in the world. For eight years in a row, China’s smartphone market has known steady growth. So, we couldn’t help but wonder: what’s the country’s game plan for the next years? Christopher Lang, General Manager of Xperi Greater China Region, talked to us about the players and the rules in this part of the world at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. We also found out what consumers here expect and how the market responds to their needs.

Unlike MWC Barcelona, we were surprised to see that many companies attending MWC Shanghai didn’t actually take advantage of the event to launch new products. Chris Lang was unfazed, though; he explained that “many Chinese companies tend to have their own events for product releases.” The more we talked, the more we understood that there are quite a couple of differences between the mobile market in the West and the one in the East.

I think Chinese players are faster in rolling out new features to fit the Chinese market

In China, the golden rule is to not waste time. OEMs are aware of the competition and the high-maintenance nature of their consumers. So, every time leading players like Oppo and Vivo have an upgrade or a new product in mind, they “will check market response to the new features and, when appropriate, add the features to products as soon as possible.”

While consumers definitely love the fast pace of the Chinese mobile market, they are also hard to please. According to Lang, they value performance above everything else: “It all comes down to overall performance. Consumers will benchmark phones to evaluate indicators like CPU, battery, and other things.”

Under-delivering is not acceptable, a rule likely imposed by the cut-throat competition and demanding consumers.

That doesn’t mean users are not partial to catchy features, he adds: “Chinese consumers, in particular the younger generation, are addicted to selfies, as well as to the popular Tik Tok and live streaming.”

My perfect phone would run smoothly and safely with a large battery capacity. For me, selfie is not a top priority

As one of the consumers in this particular landscape, what does Chris Lang appreciate in a phone? “To be honest, for people like me who spend a lot of time on the phone, a large battery capacity always comes first.”, he confesses. He also values a smooth experience and top-notch security measures.

Taking selfies isn’t a priority for him but he does appreciate how dual or triple cameras can improve the quality of an image. We couldn’t help but ask his thoughts on a phone with 5, 10 cameras? Lang left it to debate, intrigued by the prospect.

The talk has already started – wants to put 5-9 cameras in one phone. What do you think?

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