Is a Chinese Low-Cost Mobile Revolution Going On?


During the last decade, the vast majority of people, when choosing a new mobile phone, could not think of a non-Samsung Android phone that could face the iPhone. However, customers are now considering also options coming from China. Some companies, indeed, managed to introduce their products to foreign markets, providing competitive alternatives to Apple, Samsung and Nokia users.

I approached this world when I was looking for a new phone, as my old iPhone 4S was becoming too slow. A friend of mine, an HTC user at the time, suggested me considering some brands that I seldom noticed before, such as Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus. At first, I did not take it seriously: as every iPhone user, I thought that nothing could compete with it, perhaps manly because of my not bright past experiences with Android phones, such as Samsung and HTC. However, I decided to look at those Chinese phones he talked me about and my first reaction was really positive. I was astonished by those low prices. It could not be possible to get a functional and forefront smartphone for less than €200. After several reviews taken into account, I decided to stop being skeptical and to proceed with the purchase of my new Xiaomi on Amazon.


I am very satisfied of my smartphone. It is fast, it allows to enlarge the memory with further 32 GB and it is dual sim. The camera is good as well: if you compare the pictures taken with those of high-end phones, it is quite hard to notice differences, especially if the light at the moment of the click was good.

These phones suffered a lot in the past because of the misperception people has about technology Made in China and the stereotype of the cheap and low Chinese quality. People used to think these technologies are not reliable, that they just are bad imitations of expensive ones.

However, there is wind of change:

One should remember that so many novelties nowadays are actually Chinese, like the Hoverboard, which has quickly spread around the US fascinating many people. OnePlus provides other prime examples of quality. Yet, its products are entirely designed and produced in China.

global market share

Huawei, during 2015, experienced a 37% increase in sales, strengthening its third position in the global market, although still largely behind Samsung and Apple. P9, its top-of-the-range phone, was introduced in Barcelona on April 6. Everybody’s curiosity was already been raised by the previously unveiled Leica double-camera, and the presentation did nothing but increased the excitement by confirming the presence of the Press Touch on the Premium Version. Moreover, Huawei could also surprise soon with a curved touch screen to implement in the new Mate S phablet series, as forecasted by the Chinese analyst Sun Chang Xu.

Another company to follow is Xiaomi, the first producer when it comes to the domestic market share. The Mi5, the company’s top-of-the-range, has astonished the market with a combination of characteristics that allows it to be an aggressive rival to Samsung S7 and iPhone 6S. Xiaomi has indeed implemented the home button (first time on a Xiaomi), able to recognize fingerprints, together with a true innovation: the 4-axis Optical Image Stabilization, to reduce the blur whilst capturing moving objects. Combined with the Sony IMX298 16-Megapixel camera, it will quickly make you say goodbye to shaky pictures and videos. The price? Only $262 for the standard version.


Cheap is therefore no more synonym of poor quality. This is not a good new for high-end producers: apart from Apple, which runs a different OS on its devices, the other Android companies are facing the risk of a potential low-cost revolution, which would lead them to serious financial issues. So, now, the point is: will people start shifting their preferences towards these more convenient alternatives or will they stick to the brands they were born and raised with?

Matteo Cestari