Trust me, if I delete the names of these phones from the image above I don’t have an iota of doubt that you’ll get confused in recognizing which ones are branded and which ones are ‘Chinese’. Chinese because of course they have been produced in China. But don’t worry, only the looks are same. The features of the Chinese phones are not par with those of branded phones rather they are 42 steps ahead. The Chinese market gives us almost GOD phones. Considering their prices I have nothing to complain about.
You must have of course heard that what a 12K branded phone (Nokia, Sony Erickson, Samsung et all) can do can be achieved to some extend by a Chinese phone costing a meager 4K. The question that arises here is not that can the Chinese phones actually do all this but rather how do the Chinese phones do this? The answer is quite simple. Manufacturers of these kinds of mobile phones have tried and tested technology in their hands which was developed by the branded and established companies. The small manufacturers just need to adapt these technologies, that’s it! They don’t plan to make big in the industry (they cannot) and only care on launching devices which will catch the consumer’s attention.
These small companies which had a very small market share when came into existence could release a phone with a hell lot of features and to some extent even combining the features of two totally different mobiles was possible since they could release mobiles with the latest technologies without worrying about future sales (almost no warranty).
The mobile which you see to your left is a ‘clone’ of Nokia N95. It houses a mediocre 2MP camera, a loudspeaker which is probably louder than your PC speakers. So the alibi I-didn’t-hear-my-phone-ringing- will not work from now. It has a 3inch QVGA 320*240 screen with 64million colors.
A front camera is also present though3G is absent. The phone looks just like Nokia’s N95 (it’s a clone remember?) and is one-fourth the price of the actual N95. Not to mention you can even watch TV on this thing. Did I mention the built in laser pointer? Not actually required but might come in handy some day. 2 SIM ports on top of that too.
But how can they produce mobiles so cheaply and even sell them at a very reasonable rate? The answer is yet again simple. The following are some of the factors that established brands have to spend money on thus increasing the price of their devices:
1. No R&D: Constant advancements are being made in the field of technology. The rule of the field is simple
Who makes it first, sells it first.
For instance touchscreen has revolutionized the industry of mobile phones but a lot of money had been invested in improving it and making it good enough to be used in mainstream mobile phones. Companies need to get back this money from the buyers in order to achieve a profitable turnover. This is of course achieved by increasing the prices of the devices.
The picture above is not actually related to the topic of this post but this phone from Apple which dates back to 1983 and the best part if have still not realized is that it’s touchscreen!
2. No warranty. Well, almost no warranty. The best you can get is 6 months but mostly what you get is equal to the time you spend in the shop after paying for the device. Once you open the shop door to get out and close it behind, your warranty is over. How does this help in reducing the cost? The answer is yet again simple. The branded companies have (supposedly) service centers with at least 6 employees in each one of them in every nook and corner of the world. This does lead to customer satisfaction but the cost that they incur for these kinds of services is almost unbelievable and yet we have to pay for it.
3. No Advertising: From Zoo Zoo’s and Cheeka (the pug features in Vodafone ads) by Vodafone to city full of people let loose on hopping balls by Sony Ericsson are ways of attracting consumers. This way though succeeds in increasing sales but the cost of the advertised device increases
On the contrary, Chinese phone manufactures don’t have to do this. They get ready, tried and tested technology at zero R&D costs. Since there is almost no warranty, the question of availability of service centers at every nook and corner does not arise. Usually the seller himself acts as a service center employee. Advertising is minimum. So costs are low.
4. Quality The parts that are used are sub standard which eventually leads to the lifetime of the phone getting shorter. Quality parts are expensive to manufacture. Don’t expect sturdy phones from the Chinese makers. If you want something sturdy, go for Nokia. Drop a Chinese phone twice and be ready to start the car, because you’ll be needing a new phone. Misfires or as to say malfunctioning of a particular part does happen but is rare.
This helps them in providing mobiles at unbelievable rates.
Some recent happenings in mobile laws have though changed this scenario a bit.Only mobiles with valid EMEI’s are only allowed in the markets. These changes are for good and I don’t need to point out the reason as to why these laws have been put in in place.
Now the question arises that why should we buy these phones? They have almost no warranty and no guarantee towards safety of the users! These phones are almost at one-third rate compared to the branded phones. So if you suppose plan to use a phone for 2 years, why spend 15K on it when you can get better and more features for 5K? Even if the phone stops working, you can always go out and buy another one, it’ll still be 5K cheaper!
But on a more serious note, these Chinese manufactures cannot and should not replace the brands because the brands provide us with technology and new features which the Chinese are no doubt awesome at replicating but useless at inventing.
And there are users in the market who are ready to splurge for the sake of peace of mind. They will not go roaming around (or underground) in Pallika, or Nehru Place or Lamington Road in Mumbai.
I for one would opt for a Chinese phone over a Nokia make any day. What about you?