News / Economy

China Spreads Its Mobile Wings – But Can It Fly?

Huawei's Singapore CEO Zhou Bin (L-R), David Wei, President of Huawei South Pacific and Lim Chee Siong Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei South Pacific, show the new Huawei Ascend P6 Android-based smartphones during their launch at CommunicAsia communication
Huawei's Singapore CEO Zhou Bin (L-R), David Wei, President of Huawei South Pacific and Lim Chee Siong Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei South Pacific, show the new Huawei Ascend P6 Android-based smartphones during their launch at CommunicAsia communication
TEXT SIZE - +
Two of China’s leading networking and telecommunications companies are getting ready to storm the global markets for high-tech mobile devices and take on the likes of tech giants Apple and Samsung with their own brand-named products.
 
The new ZTE Grand S Lite is pictured during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013.The new ZTE Grand S Lite is pictured during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013.
x
The new ZTE Grand S Lite is pictured during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013.
The new ZTE Grand S Lite is pictured during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 25, 2013.
ZTE Corp., hopes to win over U.S. customers with a line of new phone/tablet combination devices and Huawei is targeting Asia and Western Europe with a super-slim smartphone.
 
Industry experts caution that challenging heavyweights like Apple and Samsung won’t be easy.
 
But Richard Yu, chairman of Huawei, is confident – some would say overly confident – that his company can pull it off.
 
“In its latest update, Apple makes the phone extremely simple to use,” Yu told The Telegraph newspaper recently. “But if we are just learning from them we can’t catch up… We want to go higher than them.” 

China's domestinc advantage
 
Kitty Fok, a marketing manager with the global market research firm, IDC, says the Chinese companies like Huawei and others will be getting some help in challenging the industry leaders.
 
Fok says the Beijing government's long-time focus on the high-tech sector and its insistence on developing information technology (IT) plays to the advantage of Chinese companies, whether private or state-affiliated.
 
Accordingly, Beijing has put in place “a whole range of policies that are attempts to improve the competitive position of Chinese firms,” said Adam Segal, a China scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
 
The Chinese “have a clear interest in moving from 'made in China' to 'innovated in China,'” Segal said, and they “have made it clear that they do not want to be dependent on the West.”  
 
Given the dominance of brands like Apple, Samsung and Google’s Android mobile operating system, Beijing is increasingly concerned about the penetration of foreign technology in Chinese society and prefers to have domestic companies playing these roles.
 
“This is one of the reasons the Chinese booted out Google and why the Chinese have, in a sense, compelled the substitution of domestic providers … for things like Facebook and Google and Twitter,” said Dean Cheng, a China research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’ in Washington.
 
This also gives the Chinese government “a far greater ability to shut down social media because it owns [more of] these components than almost any other country in the world,” adds Segal.
 
This month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information technology issued a white paper that said Google’s Android operating system software had too much control in China’s smartphone industry and accused the company of discriminating against some local firms by delaying the sharing of software codes.

Hacking and the blame game
 
U.S. House Intelligence Committee's report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" is seen at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2012.U.S. House Intelligence Committee's report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" is seen at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2012.
x
U.S. House Intelligence Committee's report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" is seen at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2012.
U.S. House Intelligence Committee's report on "national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE" is seen at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2012.
Chinese media had also criticized Apple and Microsoft product warranty policies and trademark issues in recent months, largely seen as a reaction to last year’s report by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee that said potential government influence over Huawei and ZTE posed a threat to U.S. security. Congress subsequently restricted the purchase of certain high-tech systems and components made in China.
 
A Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, quoted by Reuters, took issue with the U.S. Congress, saying it “uses Internet security as an excuse to take discriminatory steps against Chinese companies.”
 
But the Heritage Foundation's Cheng said the Chinese criticism might be an attempt to “leverage more technology out of foreign investors” by portraying them as treating China unfairly. 
 
“They are trying to get the moral upper hand in the course of negotiations,” he said.
 
But Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations says Beijing realizes it has to move cautiously.
 
“They still want U.S. and other companies to do research and development in China,” Segal said.
 
And Cheng notes that this would help Chinese go “after a high technology in order to be competitive” and “move up the value chain in terms of what China produces, and also to position China better as a global competitor.”
 
“That … translates to the Chinese government wanting Chinese state-owned enterprises to be competitive and facilitating their access, sometimes illegally, to foreign high technology,” Cheng said.
 
China has been accused of being the source of cyber-attacks against U.S. government agencies and private corporations, often seeking military technology or the latest high-tech industry developments. The computer security firm, Mandiant, has concluded that many of the cyber-attacks have been coming from a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai.
 
Beijing has repeatedly proclaimed its innocence and says it is a victim, not the perpetrator, of cyber-attacks. The latest revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency’s internet snooping have played right into the Chinese narrative.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco, California, June 10, 2013.Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco, California, June 10, 2013.
x
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco, California, June 10, 2013.
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco, California, June 10, 2013.
It's all about branding
 
Whatever the truth, the hacking allegations make it more difficult for Chinese companies to compete on the global level, even for a company like Huawei, which is listed as a private firm.
 
Even though Chinese web service companies like Baidu and Weibo have been successful at home, Segal says it's not at all assured their domestic success, even in a market as large as China, will provide a base for successful global operations.
 
As for companies like Huawei and ZTE going global with their own brand-named phones and tablets, Cheng said they would be facing “some serious issues – everything from corporate reputation to issues of quality control.”
 
Huawei, according to Reuters, was the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the first quarter of 2013, trailing LG Electronics, Apple and Samsung, and selling nine million phones - mostly in China.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mhey from: Philippines
June 29, 2013 5:35 AM
I'd rather not have than to buy made in China,lol


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
June 28, 2013 12:43 PM
I will buy it, always support China!


by: Knight from: Canada
June 27, 2013 1:48 PM
At-least there would be a stiff competition in Global Cellular market, result better products & technology @ low $$$............

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.