China is the origin of many of our phones, either directly through a brand from this Asian country, or indirectly, through factories of manufacturers from other countries installed there. If we talk about components, the number grows even more. If it is sometimes difficult to unravel the Xiaomi catalog, facing the conglomerate of Chinese Phone brands constitutes a whole (Chinese) wall. We have set out to unravel the knot of manufacturers and corporations behind the most popular Chinese brands.
Xiaomi, Redmi, Black Shark, POCO (best-known Chinese phone brand)
We started with the best-known brand, the powerful, versatile, and young Xiaomi, which with a decade behind it has become a benchmark in telephony and has expanded its tentacles to many other sectors. We make a small margin to talk about the curious strategy and business structure of the Chinese brand as it is interesting to understand its modus operandi .
And it is that their mobiles with attractive relationship between benefits and price – although the latter depends on the country and the time – have acted as a Trojan horse to access other markets . Because Xiaomi defines itself as an internet service company, internet of things and lifestyle – collected in its Mi ecosystem – hence it makes perfect sense to also sell vacuum cleaners, rice cookers or air purifiers.
The “secret” of its powerful offer and business fabric lies in the fact that Xiaomi is not in charge of designing and manufacturing all the products that we find within its ecosystem, but in many cases, it is simply in charge of distributing them. This is the case of brands such as the Mijia scooter, Yeelight bulbs, Runmi’s heated jacket, or Roborock’s vacuum robots, names all belonging to companies that are not Xiaomi, but that at the time were startups in which Xiaomi invested. And the list is very long.
Having clarified this point, we have to look back at the phones of the Xiaomi ecosystem. From Xiaomi is the Mi, the name that the Chinese phone brand reserves for high-end and high-end phones, with more powerful processors and the latest technological innovations. And in the case of its Mi AX series, with Pure Android.
Redmi is a subsidiary of Xiaomi and its proposal is part of the low and medium range, constituting – especially now that Xiaomi has been increasing its prices – the most attractive option from the point of view of performance and cost, with such notable examples in currently like the Redmi Note 9S or the Redmi Note 8 Pro.
Another of the names that we find in the Xiaomi ecosystem is Pocophone, which is not a range but a sub-brand that, serving the POCO F1 and more recently the recently launched POCO F2, seeks to offer high-end specifications at the hardware level by cutting in other aspects.
Black Shark, the gaming line of the Xiaomi ecosystem, is a “shared ” brand , or what is the same: Xiaomi owns 46% of the shares and the rest is from the Minjiang Economic Development Zone Government.
Other names within the Xiaomi telephony ecosystem are Sunmi, 21KE and QIN, the latter two with simple terminals aimed at senior users.
OPPO, OnePlus, Vivo, Realme and Imoo
Another leading actor in the film is BBK Electronics Corporation, a powerful Chinese multinational specialized in consumer electronics with various divisions and subsidiaries. It is the parent of OPPO, OnePlus, Vivo, Imoo, Realme and Vsun, although the latter is technically dedicated to the manufacture of components for phones.
In 2017 it was the second-largest smartphone manufacturer, only behind Samsung. But it is not only one of the largest (it has 17,000 employees), it is also the oldest, since it was born in 1995 in Chang’an.
It is important to note that despite the fact that its weight in the telephone industry is currently high, its subsidiary OPPO digital – currently dismantled – was a reference in the audiovisual world for the great value for money of its Blu-ray Disc players.
And it is that the smartphone boom began with the iPhone in 2007. Before, BBK Electronics was dedicated to the manufacture and sale of CDs – they were theirs Memorex or Philco -, televisions, MP3 players, digital cameras, headphones … until that from the OPPO hand came the mobiles.
Despite belonging to BBK Electronics, each subsidiary has portfolios, target, pricing strategies and its own markets , which together makes the strategy of the corporation cover a large part of the market but at the same time, sometimes it leads them to compete between yes.
OPPO bets on premium, focusing especially on the high and medium-range, with terminals as ambitious as the new OPPO Find X2 and X2 Pro, with panels at 120Hz and very fast charging at 65W.
OnePlus was born as an upper-middle-range alternative with a great value for money – especially in the beginning – thanks to its careful designs, powerful hardware , reinforced by the arrival of the minimalism and fluidity of Oxygen OS
Vivo is committed to a fresh and personalized vision of the markets: the NEX line encompasses its most innovative high-end models, IQOO is focused on power (it is not currently in Europe), Vivo a secas is associated with lifestyle and finally, the conceptual Apex.
Born in 2018, Realme’s is a successful proposal aimed at young audiences , currently offering terminals with premium features at very attractive prices, such as the Realme X2 Pro ( 427 euros ), one of the most attractive proposals of 2019 in relation between benefits and cost.
Huawei & Honor
Born in 1987, the Chinese multinational Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. is specialized in R & D & i and electronics production for the telecommunications industry. Within it is the Huawei Device Co., Ltd area – briefly known as Huawei -, which is the one that markets phones, tablets and computers.
But in 2011 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. started to market a small catalog of phones in emerging markets like China or India under the Honor brand. In other words, Honor is a subsidiary of Huawei . In this sense, both brands share research, development, manufacturing and after-sales service.
With the passage of time, Honor has reached a lot of markets , but its strategy and target is different from Huawei, focusing on “digital natives”. Or what is the same, is the younger line … something that is evident not only in its value for money but also in the finishes and effects .
Roughly , Honor’s proposals combine certain innovative functions that we find in its most premium phones with other simpler ones , so that globally it is a more affordable terminal than its counterpart in Huawei. And since its audience is young, these most innovative characteristics are usually related to communication and audiovisual consumption.
ZTE and Nubia
ZTE Corporation is a Chinese multinational telecommunications and systems company based in Shenzhen, one of the global telephone clusters. ZTE’s areas of operation are divided into terminals, communications, and operator networks.
ZTE is among the largest mobile manufacturers in the Asian country and, like Huawei, it has also had its comings and goings with the United States in recent times.
ZTE sells mobile phones through its own brand, with proposals as ambitious as the ZTE Axon 10s Pro, the first to be officially launched with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor.
Another actor appears on the scene, Nubia Technology, an established brand in Asia. What is your relationship with ZTE? As Nubia senior vice president Felix Fu explained to us at MWC 2017, “ZTE is one of our top three shareholders, along with Suning, China’s leading retail group, and a creative company called Yingcai. Regarding ZTE, although we share some resources, we are two independent brands, each with its own strategy and launch schedule. “
He also told us that among his plans in the near future is to enter the Top 5 of smartphone brands with proposals such as the Nubia Red Magic 5G, a phone that is postulated as the rival to beat in quality/price ratio for the 2020 gaming mobiles.
Lenovo and Motorola
The Beijing-based multinational designs, manufactures and sells electronic products: computers as popular and successful as ThinkPads, tablets, smart TVs, printers, scanners … and also mobile phones … something that one day did under its name but that it now does through the Moto , with a catalog with proposals as ambitious as that of the Motorola Edge and Motorola Edge + , with curved screens with 90 Hz refresh rate and lenses with 108 megapixels, although the most notable of the brand It is in the middle range.
Back in 2012, Lenovo launched into the smartphone market and in a few years achieved great success in its country, which led it to buy Motorola Mobility in 2014 by none other than Google, Moto being the best-known face in our country.
A modus operandi that it had previously followed, with the purchase of the line of personal computers from IBM in 2005, from the German Medion in 2011, or from the Fujitsu computer division in 2017.
Meizu Technology Co., Ltd . is a Chinese electronics company based in Zhuhai well known in our country for its phones. Founded by Jack Wong, it began its career in 2003 manufacturing MP3 and MP4 with great success , but five years later it made the leap to the telephony sector with the Meizu M8.
Its most ambitious phone today is the Meizu Pro 7 ( 452 euros ), which has its most differential feature on its double screen. Meizu phones stand out for their price and for the Android Flyme OS layer as an operating system, framed in the mid-range and lower-middle range.
Royole has the merit of being the first manufacturer to show the world a mobile phone with a flexible screen with its Flexipai, from which, by the way, they have just released a new generation, the Royole FlexPai 2.
Founded in 2012 by several Stanford engineers with Bill Liu at the helm and with investors such as IDG Capital, AMTD Group and Knight Capital, Royole Corporation is a small Chinese manufacturer based in Shenzen specializing in flexible displays with application in smartphones, sensors and other devices .
Despite being a small manufacturer, it has already received several industry awards such as the Red Dot Awards and, taking into account the trends in the sector, its trajectory seems upward.
It recently entered into an agreement with ZTE to “apply flexible display technology and we look forward to supporting ZTE in creating its innovative flexible smartphones,” stated its CEO.
Its name may not tell you anything since KVD International Group Limited is less popular with the general public than BBK, but behind this Chinese group founded in 2002 are the brands KVD, BEDOVE, and, the best known to us, DOOGEE. KVD International Group Limited designs produce, and markets mobile phones worldwide.
Born in Shenzen in 2013, DOOGEE stands out on the one hand for the low cost of its terminals and on the other, for its proposals in the area of ultra-resistant phones, with models such as the Doogee S95 Pro ( 399 euros ) or the Doogee S90 ( 359 euros). ) that have the certifications IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810G, or what is the same, resistant mobile phones suitable for exposure to drops, shocks, extreme temperatures.
Another Chinese company very similar in its proposal for affordable phones on the one hand and ultra-resistant phones on the other is Blackview, with the same name brand.
Blackview was founded in 2013 by Xu Ming (David Xu) on the premise that ” high-quality technology doesn’t have to cost a fortune, ” as we read in the company’s profile. Its most ambitious phone is the BV9800 Pro ( 509 euros ).
Formally known as Shenzhen Yunji Intelligent Technology Co., LTD, Yunji for short, this company has been focusing on mobile phone design, manufacturing, research and development, sales, and service since 2007.
What brand of phones leaves your factory? OUKITEL , yet another firm with positioning in cheap and ultra-resistant terminals. Of course, the relationship is not very clear: on its presentation page it is defined as a supplier and it has them listed in its catalog, and on the OUKITEL website appears ‘Shenzhen Yunji Intelligent Technology Co,. Ltd.’ as author. In any case, Yinji declares to be participating and supplier of national and glonal brands such as “the Ouki ravine, Qiiki, tree wire and Sam’s” (sic)
For friends, Ulefone is a high-tech company established in 2006 in the illustrious Shenzen. According to their description, they are engaged in the research and development, production and sale of mobile phones .
In its product portfolio, we mainly find ultra-resistant phones that have brought together different Armor families with the Armor 7 ( 445 euros ) as a flagship, affordable smartphones belonging to its Note and Power series – which, as its name indicates, stand out for the capacity of its battery – and some accessories.
UMIDIGI saves us a lot of having to research its trajectory thanks to the infographic you see on these lines. Formerly known as UMI, UMIDIGI is a Chinese manufacturer of cheap smartphones based in Shenzen born in 2012.
Its position in the market is to offer terminals with good value for money within the entry and mid-range . Its latest releases are the UMIDIGI A7 Pro, an entry-level quad camera and FHD panel for under $ 150, and the UMIDIGI s5 pro, with Helio G90T, AMOLED display, and quad camera for under $ 300.
We are not leaving Shenzen to visit ELEPHONE, a mobile phone manufacturer born in 2014. According to the description of its website, its commitment is to develop “high-end smartphones and make them affordable for customers”, focusing on creating user-friendly terminals, with elegant design, premium quality, and superior performance. However, in its product portfolio, we also find headphones, smartwatches, activity bracelets.
And to do justice to their description, the reality is that they implement some very attractive features in terminals at very reasonable prices, as one of their latest releases: the Elephone E10, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of memory, 48 + 13 quad-camera + 5 + 2 megapixels, NFC support, 4,000mAh battery for about 100 euros.
ELEPHONE is actually a group of companies that distribute all their activity: HK REXSO COM TECH CO., Ltd is in charge of international relations. Shenzhen ELEPHONE Communication Tech Co., Ltd is the head office and operations center and Luzhou Elephone Tech Co., Ltd is the production base.
Until 2016, New-Bund Network Technology Co ,. Ltd was an ODM ( Original Design Manufacturer ) manufacturer , but from that moment it became an OEM ( Original Equipment Manufacturer ), or what is the same: from being a white label that allowed other manufacturers to acquire their products by putting their brand, to design and produce their own brand, even if it is later sold by others.
The brand behind is Vernee, with a market positioning strategy similar to the previous ones, that is, offering cheap phones with good value for money, at least according to specifications. In addition, practically since its inception, offering a two-year guarantee. One of its most popular phones is the Vernee X, with four cameras, 128GB of RAM, a huge 6200mAh battery, and 229 euros.
Curiously, since the beginning of the year, Vernee’s official website has not been operational – the Spanish one is – nor are there any videos or activity on their social networks.
This time there is no trace of the mobile brand in the company name, Shenzhen Huafurui Technology Co., Ltd .. In fact the origin of ‘CUBOT’ comes from the combination of the words cool – cool – and robot .
The philosophy of this Shenzen firm born in 2012 is to change people’s lives with smart devices, specifically wearables, and smartphones. How to do it? With a recipe that will sound like déjà vú: offering high-performance smartphones at competitive prices.
Despite how young it is and that it does not market its products worldwide, it does offer support and guarantee – Shenzhen Huafurui Technology Co., Ltd. has been quite prolific in its years of life, with a large number of low-cost terminals and also ultra-resistant models such as the KingKong Mini ( 109 euros ) or Quest ( 169 euros )
Shenzhen Zhouji HOMTOM Technology Co., Ltd, founded in Shenzen in 2013, the brand was born HOMTOM of smartphones low cost.
His initial area of activity was the research, development and sales of communication equipment and accessories. Shortly after, it expands its range of services to batteries and diverse industrial machinery.
It not only sells its phones through the HOMTOM brand, but also manufactures white-label terminals for other firms. As they explain on their website, HOMTOM comes from “Heng Tong”, which in Chinese means eternal dominance, something that implies continuous change and innovation to achieve the path to “eternal truth” .
From Shenzhen Huihua Exploit Technology Co. Ltd, born in 2006 in the city that gives its corporation its name, Bluboo was born in 2009, another moderately popular brand among low-cost smartphones. His area of activity is the research and development, production and sales service of smartphones in more than 100 countries. In addition to Bluboo, it also produces private label terminals.
In 2013 Coolpad was the third largest manufacturer in China and one of the ten largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, with more than 50 million terminals. Its niche is affordable phones.
You might be wondering how it could be that he sold so much if his name doesn’t ring a bell. Mystery solved: they made the white label of telephones from operators such as Vodafone, Orange or T-Mobile. However, back in 2016 they landed in Spain marketing their phones under their own label, with models such as Coolpad Modena and Porto S.
Behind the brand is the company China Wireless Technologies, which in turn belongs to Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific, located in Shenzhen.
After diversifying its activity and several changes in its shareholders, Coolpad seems not to be experiencing its best moment : its website is not that of a mobile phone brand, nor do we find models for sale.
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