The following is a look at Mobile World Congress 2012 from the eyes of a Chinese attendee. David Song, the leader of Beijing’s Global Mobile Internet Conference, was kind enough to take a few minutes to jot down his thoughts on what he saw.
1. Hardware Trends
Chinese mobile phone manufacturers are going international. The Huawei Ascend D uses a self-designed quad-core chip. This helps make it the fastest, smallest, coolest (temperature), and most compact 4.5-inch screen smartphone at MWC2012.
ZTE and other Chinese companies also made an impression at MWC2012. It was interesting to see their logos appear on the badges of over 60,000 attendees. I felt it had as much significance as selling millions of ZTE handsets. China’s global influence, driven by these enterprises, is increasing.
2. Future Trends
Suri, CEO of Nokia, predicted that by 2020 one will consume 1 gigabyte of data traffic per day on average. Such a large amount of data consumption puts avery high demands for technology innovation, infrastructure, and network services on carriers. To even begin to accommodate this level of consumption, a commercial LTE network will be required. As such, China Mobile and other carriers are making efforts to bringing TD-LTE to the mainland.
LTE is much faster than 3G. It has theoretical download speeds of up to 100Mbps, though your millage will vary greatly. The construction of LTE wireless networks will allow LTE phones to perform more functions beyond current uses. It will definitely be more than a mobile phone.
Many advanced functions will become standard in the future. During MWC2012, many opinion leaders repeatedly mentioned the word “mobile voice services”. Voice will certainly become a very important topic for the future of mobile Internet. The world will become seamless and more humane, and everyone will use phones for social activities and daily life.
3. The Opportunity for China
The world is watching China. Chinese companies need to send their executives out into the world to learn different cultures and innovations, and then return to China to provide more international, innovative products and services. This is an great opportunity for China to bringing new ideas to this innovative land.
While going global, China should not become complacent in regards to the domestic development. China is a unique market that the Chinese currently understand the best, but this will not last forever. Otherwise the market may be taken by foreign brands such as Apple, Samsung and others. These foreign companies are very intelligent and have decades of experience dealing with cultures vastly different than their own.
Currently, Chinese people pay more attention to brand reputation than anything else. We should improve the customer preference for domestic brands. This is a matter of patriotism and therefore should be considered a priority.
What are the advantages of domestic brands? This is hard to say, but in exhibitions of recent years, such as CES and GSMA, Chinese enterprises have been playing an active part in going international. Huawei and ZTE were the most successful. Will it continue to be these manufacturers in the future, or the content providers such as Sina and Tencent?
Since brand awareness of Chinese consumers is still very low, I suggest we continue to focus on showing the cost and support advantages of buying domestically to consumers. When you go to South Korea, almost 100% of the households use Korean brands like Samsung and LG. In the United States, most brands are foreign. Which way will China end up developing?
China is the world’s largest country by population, so for the sake of our domestic brands, I genuinely hope our companies will begin to produce the quality of products that will make them desirable not only to foreigners, but to the Chinese people.
We have the home field advantage – to lose in our own backyard because we are unable to adapt to what our own customers want would be unacceptable.
4. National Pavilions
During the MWC in Barcelona, at least 20 countries had their own national pavilions, including Israel, Turkey, France, Sweden, Belgium, Romania, Turkey, Japan, Korea, China, etc. Most national pavilions featured distinguished and unique themes, while China’s pavilion was less over-unified and common. One major fault I noticed was the lack of social and interactive elements. In the future China’s pavilion must be more warm and open to demonstrate the true wonder of this great nation to the world abroad.