Reading China's tech news lately has been like watching a wacked out Ping-Pong tournament when it comes to attacking Apple directly and indirectly. The smart device revolution brought on by Apple's iPhone and continuing with their iPad is pumping up China's local OEMs to take aim at Apple on every front. The saying goes: If you can't beat them at first, then try, try again. Well, it's pretty obvious that the Chinese take that saying to heart – if not to extremes. The "shanzai" or "copycat," culture is thriving in China even to the point of trying to copy the cool style of the late, great, Steve Jobs. No kidding!
A new report published by China Daily late yesterday began by stating that "In China's booming smartphone market, which is set this year to overtake the United States as the world's largest, a host of little-known local firms are primed with cheap phones to squeeze market share from US giant Apple Inc.'s iPhone."
In the latest local challenge to the iPhone, Xiaomi Technology on Thursday launched the successor to its popular MiOne (MI) smartphone. The MI2 has specifications that exceed those of the iPhone 4S and sells for less than half the price. The company founded by CEO Lei Jun even mirrors Apple's World Wide Developer Conference to the point of giving his keynote in the garb that was made a classic by the late Steve Jobs.
Beyond style, TZ Wong, an analyst with IDC stated that "Apple isn't going to rule China, simply because of the limited models they have and the price points they target. Based on these two factors, we do not think Apple will be the No. 1 smartphone player in China." The report goes on to point to various statistics from the research firm Gartner to make the point that Apple is clearly in second place behind Samsung.
Every week there are these reminders from China that Apple's detractors are in their face trying to talk them down in the press at every opportunity. Just last Friday we pointed to Taiwan's Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang trying to shame the public into showing more support for HTC Corp. because they were a "cherished brand" of their own. Last Wednesday, the Chinese press hammered home that Apple was already number two in Europe behind Samsung.
On the flipside, we pointed to another report out of China that stated that Apple's iPad takes over 70% of China's tablet PC Sales. This was somewhat echoed today in the Taiwan Focus who stated that despite the advanced product features, the Galaxy Note 10.1 looks unlikely to chip away at the market dominance of Apple's iPad.
Reporter Jeffrey Wu stated that Samsung came in second but trailed far behind with only a 9.2 percent market share, followed by Amazon.com Inc. at 4.2 percent, Asustek Computer Inc. at 2.8 percent.
So what does this trend confirm? Well, it confirms that as long as Apple is able to stay ahead of the pack in terms of design, in user interface enhancements, in added features and applications, the Chinese are willing to pay more to get that Apple magic that is backed by all the intellectual property that Apple could get their hands on. If Apple's next generation iPhone packs enough advancements into it like we all expect, then their sales will skyrocket like they've traditioinally done. These so-called analysts that are temporarily spewing their pessimist views in the press today will once again be silenced.
And let's not kid ourselves, if Apple gains a positive verdict in their trial against Samsung, it'll send a powerful message to all copycatters around the globe that they'll pay a heavy price for copying anything of Apple's. On the other hand, if the verdict doesn't go Apple's way, then all bets are off that Apple will be able to remain the king of the smart device revolution.
How's that for pressure? Pass the popcorn.