Vivo climbing the ranks of China's smartphone elite

By Fan Feifei ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-11-25 08:02:44

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo Mobile Communication Technology is continuing to expand its core technology's advantages in photography and music, and upgrading its products in accordance with consumer demands.

The Guangdong-based company has found success in customer satisfaction, market performance and offline stores' expansion in recent years. It is taking steps to boost its presence on online channels and first-tier cities.

"We aim to provide excellent products and services. We are very humble, keep a low profile and put more energy and time into product positioning and our customers, and will continue to improve the quality of our products," said Ni Xudong, senior vice-president of Vivo.

"We established an online sales team in 2013. We couldn't deny that our market share in e-commerce platforms or first-tier cities may be less than that in the overall industry," said Ni.

However, their growth rate in first-tier cities is now faster than their overall growth rate in recent years, said Ni, adding there is still room for them to improve their products.

Vivo climbing the ranks of China's smartphone elite

"Our products have the capacity to tap into the first-tier cities," said Hu Boshan, executive vice-president of Vivo, adding that their market share in the first-tier cities is increasing.

Founded in 2009 in Dongguan, Guangdong province, the Vivo brand focuses on providing a high-quality audio experience for users by utilizing Hi-Fi chips in its smartphones.

The company has continued to upgrade its handset brand, introducing cameras and music into the products, attracting a younger generation.

Last week, Vivo announced new smartphones Vivo X9 and X9Plus for the China market.

The X9 features a 5.5-inch Full HD super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,080 pixels by 1,920 pixels, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, priced at 2,798 yuan ($405).

Both Vivo X9 and X9Plus have two selfie cameras, a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 sensor and an 8-megapixel camera to be used for better depth and focus control.

The company is also vying for the high-end markets by launching its Xplay series.

The Vivo Xplay 6 smartphone, the company's flagship offering for the year, was also launched last week. It comes with a 5.46-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1,440 pixels by 2,560 pixels.

Priced at 4,498 yuan, it packs a 12-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 16-megapixel front shooter for selfies.

In constant pursuit of perfection, Vivo has focused on independent research and development for technological innovation. It has made considerable investments in R&D centers, which currently employ over 1,600 design and marketing personnel.

Shi Yujian, senior vice-president of Vivo, said they will continue to increase investment in R&D through collaboration with technology enterprises like Sony Corp, adding they are concentrating on consumers' needs and concerns.

Furthermore, the company will establish two new research bases in Hangzhou and overseas. They have been maintaining cooperation relations with suppliers.

According to the International Data Corporation, the China smartphone market grew by 5.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, with OPPO and Vivo overtaking Huawei in sales for the first time in the market.

Vivo shipped 19.2 million units to grab a 16.7 percent market share, ranking second place.

IDC expects the Chinese smartphone market to continue to see both sequential and year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter, punctuating low single-digit year-on-year growth for 2016.

Analysts said Vivo triumphed due to its strengths in the offline channels. Effective marketing and advertising helped it to see strong growth in the market in the third quarter.

Xiaohan Tay, senior market analyst of IDC, said: "As the growth in online channels stabilizes, many other vendors have expressed interest in increasing their offline channels. However, given the huge amount of cost involved, vendors need to focus on targeting key customers in specific cities or provinces where they can find their target audience."

"It is also important for vendors to focus on investments in technology to have a key flagship product that stands out in the market."

Global markets

Vivo Mobile Communication Technology is stepping up its investments in overseas markets.

It started its international strategy in 2014 and mainly focused on countries in Southeast Asia, having entered India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines in recent years.

It entered the Indian market in December 2014 with the world's slimmest smartphone, the Vivo X5Max, targeting young Indian aspirational customers. Moreover, it has launched its V series of products for the local market in India.

It is now sponsoring the Indian Premier League, the most-watched cricket tournament in India. Vivo and the IPL have engaged in extensive cooperation in terms of sporting events, on-the-ground activations and marketing campaigns.

Vivo plans to set up 200 after-sales service centers in India by the end of 2016.

Vivo released its X5Pro in Thailand in July 2015, and has more than 2,000 cooperation partners, more than 1,000 outstanding sales staff and 20 exclusive stores throughout Thailand, which constitute a professional sales and service network for customers.

It has run a large-scale advertising campaign using Thai television, music radio, high-end shopping malls, concerts, campuses and more.

It also launched its X5Max in Southeast Asian markets like Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia last year.

"We have established factories in India and Indonesia, producing handsets that cater to the taste of local people," said Ni Xudong, the senior vice-president of Vivo, adding that they also hire local employees.

Vivo climbing the ranks of China's smartphone elite

Visitors experience the virtual reality equipment developed by Vivo at a tech show in Guangdong province. Photos Provided To China Daily

Vivo climbing the ranks of China's smartphone elite

Visitors try out Vivo's new generation of smartphones at the tech show.

Vivo climbing the ranks of China's smartphone elite

Senior executives of Vivo say they will continue to improve quality of products tailor-made for consumers'demands

(China Daily 11/25/2016 page14)

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