LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA EXPO 2012: The Asian market will continue to be important to Motorola as the smartphone sector becomes increasingly competitive in the region, said Motorola VP for international product management, Bin Shen. “Asia Pacific in general is a very strong market segment,” he told Mobile Asia Daily ahead of his conference appearance tomorrow.
Motorola recently re-entered the Japanese market with the first 4G CDMA and WiMAX smartphone and has made significant R&D investment in South Korea. “Singapore, South East Asia – they’re all markets we try to continue to grow, because the growth in these regions is pretty high,” Shen added.
China is a particular focus for the company, where it has “a very strong brand awareness,” after being the first vendor to launch an Android-powered handset tailored to the Chinese market in 2009.
The popularity of Android in China means the recent US$12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola by Google should be a good fit. “We continue to think [China] is a very exciting opportunity in the smartphone area. China is an important country for Google as well,” the Motorola exec said.
With many local OEMs making an impact as well as foreign companies, competition has increased. “Competition is much heavier, certainly from two years ago, so there are a lot of interesting dynamics. You can see some Chinese OEMs creating smartphones but also there are some new entrants, like mobile internet companies,” Shen said.
Motorola’s commitment to China extends to working closely with China Mobile in the use of TD-SCDMA 3G technology. “We are very supportive of TD-SCDMA – we were the first company to introduce the Android TD-SCDMA smartphone back in January 2010 and we continue to introduce our flagship smartphones in the TD-SCDMA area,” Shen said.
Shen feels low-end smartphones will soon take market share from feature phones in Asia, with the market seeing heavy competition in the next few years. “Most low-cost smartphones are being driven Asia, particularly China, and I think that’s very distinct from the US market particularly,” he said.
And cheaper smartphones will bring social benefits, especially with Asia’s young population and the greater importance of mobile internet. ”I think that’s a very important social contribution that the smartphone industry can deliver – I think that would drive a lot of growth there,” he said.