Thailand: Battle stage of Asian brands vs Galaxies, iPhones
Not less than six smartphone brands from Asian vendors—including India's Lava, China's Xiaomi and Vivo, Hong Kong's iMI, and the one-year-old competitor from Philippines, Cherry Mobile—play to their strengths against the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Even computer makers such as Asus and Lenovo are advancing into the smartphone market, in addition to local firms already serving the market with entry-level devices boasting strong features like G-Net.
The entrance of more players triggered stiff price competition that has put pressure on smartphone giants, particularly Samsung, Satianporn Suvansupa, associate marketing analyst at IDC Thailand, told the Bangkok Post.
People buying their first smartphones are the key market drivers for Android-based devices sold for $153 and below, Satianporn added. This is a huge draw for Asian players since there are reportedly about 70 million Thais who have yet to own smartphones.
From Hong Kong to Thailand
For the Hong Kong-based smartphone maker iMI Technology, Thailand's smartphone market opens up a ton of opportunities for new players that can provide devices with strong specifications at dirt cheap prices.
Jacky Zhang, chief executive of iMI Technology Thailand, said through the Bangkok Post that they their smartphones rival Apple's iPhone in terms of specifications, but priced at less than $300 per unit to attract entry-level consumers.
iMI designs its smartphones in its Hong Kong headquarters, and manufactures more than 10 million of them from plants in China and Taiwan, enabling the firm to offer competitive prices.
The firm offers two Android-based smartphone models—the Messi No. 1 and Lady 1, targeted at male and female users respectively. The Messi No. 1 integrates a five-inch OGS display and 13Mpx camera, while the Lady 1 features a voice shutter command that enables the user to say "cheese" for automated photo-taking.
The firm expects to sell 150 ,000 units in the next six months though its 500 distributors, with 10 service centres spread all over Thailand.
iMI already has plans laid out to establish its brand across the ASEAN market starting with a $9.23 million project for bolstering its Thai operation, and using it as a jumping-off point for more mature markets, according to the Bangkok Post.
It looks to expand into Singapore in the third quarter, and into Myanmar to make profits from 3G services.
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