Cheap and smart: the Chinese upgrade from featurephones en masse

The Chinese …  switch phones far more often than their counterparts in the West — generally after about six months, analysts say, compared with every two years or so in developed economies. Fickle customers mean market share shifts swiftly, and the fortunes of companies rise and fall almost as fast…sales of phones priced at less than $200 are expected to surge to 400 million units this year, from 234 million last year, with a further jump to 685 million in 2015, the firm says. The low end is growing faster because prices of smartphones have fallen so much that hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers are now able to replace old-fashioned feature phones that lack mobile data capabilities. [link]

 

China’s 65 dollar smartphones

Liang’s company, Xunrui Communications, buys smartphone components and then feeds them to several small factories around Shenzhen, in southern China. There, deft-fingered workers assemble the parts into basic smartphones that retail for as little as $65.

Each chipset costs $5 to $10, depending on the size of a phone’s screen and other features. In total, Liang says, his cost to make a smartphone is about $40. He says he can manufacture as many as 30,000 smartphones a day for brands such as Konka Mobile and for telecom operators like China Unicom. [link]

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Recently, students from MIT journeyed to Shenzhen, China, the capital of low-cost electronics manufacturing, where they discovered that cell phones can be had for as little as $10, likely the world’s cheapest. [link]