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Call sounds for domestic mobile producers to unite
( 2002-02-04 11:01 ) (1 )

Chinese mobile phone producers pledged on Saturday to go head to head with international giants to obtain a greater domestic market share.

They will fight to wrest control from Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson to have half of Chinese mobile phone users using their products by the end of next year.

The market share of domestic companies is estimated to be 13-15 per cent -- up from 3 per cent in 1999 and 8 per cent in 2000.

"The foreign firms are ambitious and the domestic ones need united effort," said Liu Zhaobin, director-general of the Department of Laws and Regulations under the State General Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine.

Liu called on more than 40 Chinese mobile phone companies to unite and stop vicious competition among themselves.

"Most Chinese mobile phone companies are capable but the mobile manufacturing sector of China is not competitive so far," Liu told a workshop organized by China Association of Quality Promotion on Saturday.

The workshop was one of a package of activities organized by the association to promote commercial brands now that China has become a World Trade Organization member.

Liu suggested all mobile phone makers should form an industry association and map out a formal mobile phone developing strategy.

Companies should merge to maximize their various advantages, Liu said.

"But most importantly, you (mobile phone producers) should consciously increase investment in research and development (R&D) and have more command of core technology," Liu said.

But his views were not echoed by all mobile phone entrepreneurs attending the workshop.

"Investment in R&D in this regard is too much and emerging companies cannot afford it," said Xu Lihua, general-manager of China's leading mobile phone maker China Bird in East China's Zhejiang Province.

"R&D is essential for a high-tech company but it is a time and money-consuming activity," said Xu.

"We can also become competitive in the market by improving the functions and styles of our mobile phones."

Xu suggested other enterprises should pick some foreign countries as their target markets.

"Though we started later than international giants, we have become competitive enough to obtain more market share overseas," Xu said.

Xu's company has established branches in Russia and India and has recently begun exporting mobile phones to Russia.

At Saturday's workshop, Liu Xiaoping, an official with the State General Administration for Industry and Commerce, said all mobile phone enterprises should act to improve the quality of their products.

"The situation is not so upbeat in terms of mobile phone quality in recent years and users are complaining a lot," Liu said.

According to Liu, the number of mobile phone complaints rose by about 50 per cent last year, compared with 2000.



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