Haier-Elegance.jpgChina
Mobile is readying its first commercial order for handsets that use
China's home-grown TD-SCDMA standard. Surprise, surprise, there are no
western manufacturers on the supplier list.

According to Cellular News, which cites local media, China Mobile will buy
2m TD-SCDMA phones in October. At a relatively steep average retail
price of between $260 and $390 each, that translates into a tender
worth between $500m and $780m.

About 18 phone makers will share the TD-SCDMA orders, including ZTE,
Datang Mobile, Haier, Lenovo Mobile, TCL and Huawei Technologies. The
only non-Chinese suppliers mentioned are Samsung and LG.

These first-tier suppliers will take 60% of the total phone
procurement value, according to the Shanghai Daily, so there's still
time for western giants Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola to make China
Mobile an offer it cannot refuse.

But EngagingChina believes this is one dance that the western manufacturers would be wise to sit out.

China Mobile told the handset manufacturers who supplied it with
20,000 first-generation TD-SCDMA handsets to go back to the drawing
board because it was not happy with their performance during trials of
its TD-SCDMA network, which are now being expanded to six cities — see
this story for more.

EngagingChina was interested to see Haier making
China Mobile's list. In the west this Chinese brand is usually mostly
associated with low-tech white goods such as air conditioners and
refrigerators.

Nevertheless, Haier also makes phones and is now exporting them to
the west. Its latest model to go on sale in the UK, the Haier Elegance
(pictured), is not 3G but is claimed to be the world's smallest GSM
phone featuring an MP3 player.

While its probably not going to set the world alight, the Elegance
does show how far China's handset manufacturers have evolved in recent
years, not least in the design stakes as the Elegance looks original
and, dare we say it, cool.

More on Haier in this story.


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