China Mobile is reported to have moved into the own-brand smartphone space with the launch of two Android devices, in partnership with manufacturers Hisense and BYD.
Hisense is producing the higher-spec of the pair, called M701, which has a 5-inch screen, 1.2GHz quadcore processor, and is priced at around CNY1,299. BYD is responsible for the lower-end unit, called M601, which has a 4-inch screen, dualcore processor, and is priced at CNY499.
According to China Daily, the devices will be made available through China Mobile’s sales channels later this year.
It was suggested that the move, which echoes the strategy of international players such as Vodafone Group, is unlikely to have much of an impact on the operator’s sales, but will help reinforce its branding.
In addition, it will enable the company to ensure its own services are placed front-and-centre on the devices, in the face of growing competition from online service providers in the country.
An example cited was China Mobile’s voice recognition services, touted as a rival to Apple’s Siri, delivered in partnership with Anhui USTC iFlytek.
But another benefit is that it will help China Mobile’s proposition in smaller cities, which other players fail to reach, according to James Yan, an analyst with IDC China, cited by China Daily.