At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, cell phone makers are like Hollywood stars. Its stands have models, lights and futuristic images. Samsung, the leader in sales in 2015, threw the house out the window because it knows its competitors are already biting their heels. Apple or siquera participates in these events.
But there are small spaces, with less paraphernalia and fewer models, which have received thousands of visitors. They are little-known manufacturers of Chinese manufacturers who develop a simple idea: super-smart phones at low prices. What seems the ideal combination.
These companies want to become the new Huawei, Xiaomi or ZTE, which in less than five years robbed at least 100 million users of the leaders. Chinese phone makers made clear this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona what their ambitions are. Huwaei and TLC tried to shadow Samsung and LG, who introduced new expensive devices. Xiaomi, who generally launches its phones in China, presented its new Mi5 in Barcelona on Wednesday.
"Chinese phone sellers have something unique to offer - their price," said Shu On Kwok, a publisher of AndroidPIT, a portal that tracks Android device news. "They offer you the same hardware as an LG or a Samsung, but at a lower price."
Samsung's share of the market fell in 2015 and Apple is forecasting its revenue will decline for the first time in 13 years. The two will have to prove in the future that they really justify paying more for their appliances.
Chinese manufacturers can keep prices low by reducing profit margins and using cheap components. Expensive devices from Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, may be better, but they are not as innovative and their novelties do not generate as much interest.
Many people are no longer interested in having the latest technology, according to Oh Bong Yeon, a 38-year-old South Korean who is willing to wait for prices to come down or to buy cheaper products.
Melissa Chau, senior researcher at IDC, says the Chinese catch up on the latest developments faster than Samsung did. "Samsung did not innovate, but copied with a lot of speed," he said. "These Chinese people do it even faster." Now that they have become entrenched in the Chinese market, these manufacturers want to find new markets to expand. Will be able?