SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Chinese phones are dominating the world market for smartphones after Chinese manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co. topped global charts for the second quarter this year.
Nevertheless, Chinese smartphone makers are still being dwarfed in the South Korean market.
Not even Huawei, or Xiaomi Corp., the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer, stands a chance in the South Korean market.
Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Lite, a 5G smartphone released last month, are being stockpiled in warehouses just two weeks after their launch as South Korean mobile carriers are struggling to sell them.
Early this year, Xiaomi demonstrated a strong will to infiltrate the South Korean market, aiming to sell 200,000 smartphones and adding more variety into its product line-up.
The extreme underperformance that ensued, however, has made it difficult for the company to accomplish that goal.
Huawei has also attempted to tap into the South Korean market multiple times, to no avail. Huawei’s low-priced, LTE smartphones Nova Lite 2 and Be Y3, released in 2018, were the last models to be released in South Korea.
The Be Y3, in particular, was the result of Huawei’s effort to win the favor of South Korean consumers by removing Huawei’s company logo and naming the product after a South Korean celebrity, but it wasn’t enough to infiltrate the market.
Xiaomi and Huawei’s struggles stem from a lack of publicity and their failure to secure distribution channels centering on brick-and-mortar stores.
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9S and Mi 10 Lite, released this year, were primarily sold via the official online shopping malls run by South Korean mobile carriers.
In South Korea, most smartphone sales occur at offline stores. Online sales comprise less than 10 percent of total smartphone sales.
Chinese smartphones’ lack of publicity in South Korea is another major problem that obstructs the success of Chinese manufacturers.
Mobile carriers considered an offline release of the Mi 10 Lite to increase the number of low-to-medium-priced 5G phones in their line-ups, but the plan was never put into action after they decided that there wasn’t enough domestic demand to compete with other manufacturers.
As Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are speeding up their offensive in the market for low-to-medium-priced smartphones, it is becoming more difficult for Chinese manufacturers to find any available niche market.
Samsung and LG have released LTE phones with a price range of 200,000-300,000 won (US$170-$250) and 5G phones priced around 500,000 won (US$420).
While Chinese phones are cheaper, poor warranty service and a lack of brand awareness are undermining their competitiveness.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)