Alcatel OneTouch is upping production by approximately 30 per cent with the aim of becoming one of the world’s three largest handset manufacturers.
Part of China’s TCL group, the company shipped 80 million units in 2014, which it claims makes it the fourth largest device manufacturer globally. “Two or three years ago we were number eleven,” said William Dowie, portfolio director, global marketing and products center. In contrast, in 2015 the company aims to manufacture 110 million devices, said Dowie.
Yet unlike competitors such as Xiaomi, Alcatel OneTouch’s growth has come from outside its home base of China, where it has a market share of below 10 per cent. “We’re relatively small in the whole of Asia-Pac,” said Dowie, who added that Alcatel OneTouch is the Chinese OEM that ships the most devices outside its home market.
Instead Alcatel OneTouch so far has focused on Latin America and Eastern Europe, and now claims to be the number two player in Russia. It also has built up market share in the US through carrier partnerships.
Yet the company, which sells mid-priced smartphones at below $300 that come with high-end features, needs to succeed in Western Europe, where it is currently weak. To this end it will open new e-commerce channels, aim to build relationships with operators and launch its latest Idol phone globally.
But the company recognises there will be challenges in a market that is in flux. In the lower range of smartphones “there will be a bloody war on pricing,” said Dowie.
Meanwhile “the top-end of the market is slowing down and we will face more competition as people step into the mid-range,” said Dowie.
“But we still see growth in the $200 to $300 range,” said Dowie. And to prevent price erosion it is counting on features such as front-end speakers certified by JBL and a reversible screen which feature on the IDOL 3 phone it unveiled at Mobile Congress.