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Motorola to Re-enter China Smartphone Market

Parent company Lenovo plans to launch three devices in early 2015.

Iain Morris

January 7, 2015

2 Min Read
Motorola to Re-enter China Smartphone Market

Smartphone maker Motorola is to re-enter the Chinese telecoms market early this year following its takeover by Chinese vendor Lenovo in October 2014. (See Lenovo Closes Moto Mobility Buy From Google.)

The company had withdrawn from China in 2013 after being acquired by Internet giant Google, which faced tough competition from local manufacturers as well as international heavyweights, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC).

Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992) clearly reckons it has the wherewithal to challenge those players, revealing in a blog post on Motorola’s website that it will launch three smartphones in China in early 2015.

Those include the Moto X as well as the new Moto X Pro and Moto G with 4G LTE.

The Moto X is to be made available from early February, while the Moto X Pro and Moto G will go on sale sometime after Chinese New Year on February 19.

In an effort to drum up interest in the launch, Motorola Mobility LLC is allowing Chinese consumers to vote on the colors and materials that will be used in the first Moto X handsets to hit the market, indicating the device will eventually be made available in several different designs.

As Lenovo points out, despite quitting the country in 2013, Motorola has a long history in China, where its brand still appears to command some respect.

Nor can the company afford to ignore such a vast and thriving market, with smartphone ownership growing fast as Chinese operators roll out higher speed 4G LTE networks.

Want to know more about 4G LTE? Check out our dedicated 4G LTE content channel here on Light Reading.

China Mobile Communications Corp. -- the country’s biggest mobile operator -- claimed to have grown its 4G customer base to more than 70 million subscribers by the end of November from just 14 million in June, while the number of 3G customers it served rose from 239 million to 242 million during the same period. (See Forget 3G: China Mobile Is a 4G King.)

China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU), meanwhile, was serving 148 million mobile broadband customers in November, having added more than 1 million in that month alone, while China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) signed up more than 2 million 3G customers in November to give it nearly 117 million overall.

Whether Motorola plans to focus on challenging the low-cost gadget makers like Xiaomi or square up to Apple and Samsung at the opposite end of the market remains unclear.

— Iain Morris, News Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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