After experiencing a major sales drop, the Chinese makers of counterfeit cell phones, commonly known as “shanzhai” phones, are now making a return in China market, focus on producing budget smartphones under their own brand names. Stores for these new brands are first appearing in Huaqiangbei, a well-known consumer electronics market in Shenzhen. Last year, Taiwan chip maker MediaTek rolled out high‐performance and low cost integrated chips, the move has prompted many shanzhai phone manufacturers to switch to the production of smartphones …
Shanzhai smartphone makers target mainly the lower and middle end products which priced at around 500 yuan to 1599 yuan (US$78-250). A shanzhai cell phone producer in Shenzhen, opened up more than 100 stores for his new “ThL” brand throughout China during the pass six months. The stores are mostly franchise stores and some directly owned. One of their latest model ThL W3, which look identical to HTC smartphones, comes with dual-core CPU with 4.5 inch 720p HD screen, 1GB RAM and 2000mAh battery, cost only 1599 yuan (US$250) in China.
In addition, ThL has also opened online stores on Taobao and 360buy, the two major online shopping platforms in China. ThL said online sales channels play a supplementary role, while retail stores play a critical role in the company’s operations, since the trying-out and user experience are essential in attracting business. The company plan to increase the number of stores next year to boost the brand image of their products.
Previously, knock-off manufacturers relied on co-opting the names of top leading brand to sell their bootleg products, but now they are becoming the new rising star of domestic brand.
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