Forget about America and forget about Europe, the world’s biggest smartphone market is China. They have a population of over 1.3 billion people, and while most are still struggling to get by, there’s a rapidly growing middle class who want to own the devices that we in the West take for granted. What kind of phones are selling in China? Devices made by companies you’ve probably never heard of, and devices from companies like Lenovo, who have yet to gain a foothold outside their home country.
According to the China Times, Qualcomm held a “Partner Summit” in Shenzhen, China on January 23rd that was attended by roughly 1,200 people. The theme of the summit was crystal clear, Qualcomm was encouraging handset makers looking for growth to use Qualcomm’s chips instead of chips from competitors such as MediaTek. Why? Simple, because devices with Qualcomm chips are sold in the West, whereas MediaTek based smartphones never leave Asia. Qualcomm also likes to say that their chips will help manufacturers achieve a faster time to market, but that’s debatable since MediaTek does a great job with their integration work.
Will anyone in China take Qualcomm seriously? Like we said earlier, China is the largest smartphone market and it’s just going to keep on growing, so why should companies care about expanding to Western markets? There’s the whole brand perception thing. People want to look rich, and more often than not that means buying things that are popular in the United States. Marketing people even have a term for this bullshit, they call it “aspirational brand awareness” or some other similar nonsense.
But back to the question at hand, we all know that Samsung can’t stay on top until the end of time. The next big company will likely come out of China, and they’re probably going to need Qualcomm’s help.