Business / Companies

ZTE's Nubia launches large-screen device

By Ma Si ( Updated: 2016-06-07 22:50

Nubia, the upmarket smartphone brand of ZTE Corp, unveiled a 6-inch screen handset on Tuesday, in a move to tap into Chinese consumers' growing desire for large-display devices.

The new phone, named Nubia Z11 Max, adds to the evidence that smartphone vendors are targeting niches to boost sales as the overall growth slows down.

Equipped with a high-definition camera and a large battery, Nubia Z11 Max, priced at 1,999 yuan ($304), is in direction competition with Mi Max, a 6.44-inch handset released by its arch rival Xiaomi Corp.

Ni Fei, co-founder of Nubia Technology Ltd, said when consumers shoot videos, the new phone can add a filter to enhance the scene and offer better quality.

Nubia announced last month that it has signed Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as its global ambassador. To convert football fans into buyers, the company will offer a number of handsets with Ronaldo's autograph.

In December, Nubia secured 1.93 billion yuan investment from an investment arm of Suning Commerce Group, one of China's largest electronics retailers.

Hao Ying, an independent analyst said as with a saturated smartphone market, the competition is getting cutthroat in China.

"Instead of just launching mass market products, vendors are trying their best to target niches," Hao said.

Last month, Xiaomi launched its largest-ever-screen smartphone Mi Max to focus on hardcore gamers and video lovers. Apple Inc's newly-released 4.7-inch iPhone SE is also not a mainstream option. It is positioned to target lovers of small-screen handsets.

"When there is not a watermelon, everyone is fighting for sesames," Hao added.

In the first quarter of this year, China smartphone market grew only 2 percent year-on-year, driven mostly by replacement buyers, data from International Data Corp show.

James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said compared with Xiaomi, which is heavily user-oriented and focuses on marketing, Nubia has an edge in hardware design.

According to him, currently Nubia ships about 500,000 smartphones every month, and about 90 percent of them are sold in China.

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