Go­ing ‘smart’ Hong Kong-style

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

more trust in the in­for­ma­tion they get from so­cial me­dia,” he said.

Ni said since the launch of the Nu­bia line in late 2012, about one mil­lion units have been sold across the prod­uct line. ZTE ex­pects sales this year to ex­ceed that. The main­land is ex­pected to gen­er­ate the high­est sales with the rest dis­trib­uted among Hong Kong and Asia Pa­cific coun­tries.

Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd, the world’s sec­ond-largest tele­com equip­ment maker and ZTE’s ma­jor com­peti­tor, is step­ping up its pro­file with plans to en­hance its po­si­tion in Hong Kong’s con­sumer mar­ket.

“Hong Kong is quite the op­po­site of the western Euro­pean mar­ket. The Euro­pean mar­ket is sta­ble,” Shao Yang, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Con­sumer Busi­ness Group at Huawei, told China Daily.

Shao pointed out that while Hong Kong is rel­a­tively small, many brands com­pete here for mar­ket recog­ni­tion. “It will be dif­fi­cult for Huawei to in­crease its brand aware­ness in Hong Kong, but I think it will be the next step for us,” he said.

“Hong Kong is a strate­gi­cally im­por­tant mar­ket to the group not be­cause of its mar­ket size or the rev­enue gen­er­ated here, but be­cause of Hong Kong’s strong in­flu­ence in other mar­kets,” Richard Zhang Zhenjun, chief of the Hong Kong Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice for Huawei, said in an in­ter­view. He added that Huawei prefers to launch pioneer projects, tech­nolo­gies and prod­ucts in Hong Kong. If the new en­deav­ors work out here, they have a bet­ter chance for suc­cess in other ar­eas of the Asia Pa­cific.

Zhang said, com­menc­ing this year, Huawei’s mo­bile-phone fo­cus will switch to smart­phones sup­port­ing LTE ser­vices. The com­pany plans to launch at least five new smart­phones in Hong Kong this year at prices rang­ing from HK$775 to HK$2,325.

Huawei is also work­ing with tele­com oper­a­tors like PCCW, SmarTone, and China Mo­bile (Hong Kong), while its mo­bile phones con­tinue sell­ing through open chan­nels such as Fortress stores.

To dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self from other mo­bile-phone brands, Huawei will launch more smart­phones that sup­port dual SIM cards. Hongmi hand­sets big hit

Xiaomi is the third most im­por­tant Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer that un­til now has limited its sales of hand­sets to on­line por­tals. The com­pany’s smart­phones have at­tained pop­u­lar­ity among younger main­lan­ders — mov­ing the com­pany to test its wings in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

Xiaomi’s first flash sale in Hong Kong last De­cem­ber sold 10,000 Hongmi hand­sets

Hong Kong is a strate­gi­cally im­por­tant mar­ket to the group not be­cause of its mar­ket size or the rev­enue gen­er­ated here, but be­cause of Hong Kong’s strong in­flu­ence in other mar­kets.” RICHARD ZHANG ZHENJUN CHIEF OF THE HONG KONG REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVE OF­FICE FOR HUAWEI

in just 36 sec­onds at HK$999 each. Sev­eral sub­se­quent flash sales tar­get­ing Hong Kong con­sumers sold out with al­most equally breath­tak­ing alacrity. Xiaomi’s pri­mary pro­mo­tional plat­form for these flash sales is its Face­book page, where it has a huge lo­cal fol­low­ing.

Cur­rently, Xiaomi is also co­op­er­at­ing with Hong Kong mo­bile op­er­a­tor PCCW-HKT on sales of Hongmi in Hong Kong. The two com­pa­nies are of­fer­ing Hongmi smart­phones on ex­tended phone-ser­vice con­tracts. A sub­scriber pays HK$148 monthly for 18 months or HK$198 for 12 months. The free smart­phone is part of the pack­age.

A se­nior Xiaomi ex­ec­u­tive told China Daily the com­pany’s busi­ness model, fo­cus­ing on on­line sale of hand­sets pro­moted through so­cial me­dia, worked out well on the main­land. It plans to use the same mar­ket­ing in Hong Kong as a test plat­form be­fore go­ing global with the strat­egy.

The ma­jor chal­lenge for the com­pany in Hong Kong is that the e-com­merce mar­ket here is not as highly evolved as on the main­land. “Un­like the main­land where people shop on­line, people in Hong Kong pre­fer to shop at phys­i­cal stores. I think it may take con­sumers some time to de­velop the habit of pur­chas­ing on­line,” the ex­ec­u­tive said.

Chi­nese smart­phone mak­ers keen to en­ter the Hong Kong mar­ket have their sights set on even more am­bi­tious goals over­seas.

ZTE recorded 40 mil­lion smart­phone ship­ments in 2013, and tar­gets 60 mil­lion sales this year. Ac­cord­ing to David Dai Shu, depart­ment di­rec­tor at ZTE’s Cor­po­rate Brand­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Depart­ment, the com­pany’s prin­ci­pal mar­kets are the main­land and the United States.

“Our largest mar­ket (for smart­phone sales) is still the main­land, but sales have been in­creas­ing rapidly in the US,” Dai said, adding that the com­pany sold 10 mil­lion ter­mi­nal de­vices in the US last year, amount­ing to $1.2 bil­lion in sales.

Dai is op­ti­mistic about ZTE’s fu­ture prospects. “Many main­land smart­phone man­u­fac­tur­ers are ex­plor­ing busi­ness over­seas, but many of them may find it dif­fi­cult to en­ter the US mar­ket. The US ter­mi­nal mar­ket is dom­i­nated by tele­com oper­a­tors. If you want to en­ter the mar­ket, you have lit­tle choice but to co­op­er­ate with tele­com oper­a­tors. Luck­ily, ZTE has good co­op­er­a­tion with tier-one oper­a­tors in the US,” he said.

Dai said ZTE al­ready has the largest mar­ket share in the US pre-paid, mo­bile-phone mar­ket, and it plans to en­hance its po­si­tion in the con­tract-phone po­si­tion. Con­tact the writer at so­phiehe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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