Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can Meizu challenge the established order?


As an established and popular smartphone provider to Asian markets, Meizu has announced last month in a press release their intentions to pursue the US smartphone market, stating in a publicly released press statement, “As the first step in a long-term strategy to pursue the U.S. market, Meizu will showcase its line of smartphones at CES 2014”.

Meizu is a Chinese electronics manufacturer that has been operational since 2003 and initially entered the Android platform market in 2011 with the Meizu M9. Prior to the announcement of the US launch, Meizu was part of a group of exceptional smartphone providers who are barely known outside of China such as Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo. Although successful and popular with Chinese and South East Asian consumers, entering the US market will bring a number of challenges to the OEM company.

To begin with there is presently a broad range of established providers in the US market – enough to stave off other, larger Asia based electronics companies from attempted dominance in the market, such as Sony. Although Meizu has stated it will focus on providing quality phones at “consumer friendly prices” it will be a challenging and crowded marketplace to break into. Meizu has addressed this concern somewhat by concluding their short press release by stating that they believe “there’s room in the U.S. Market for another player”. So at the very least they have acknowledged competition will be tough but they are prepared to overcome that hurdle. Perhaps it is the elegant cutting edge designs and features that their Asian customers enjoy so much that will give Meizu the edge to compete stateside. The recently released Meizu MX3 features an Exynos 5 CPU and a huge 128GB storage. Additionally the company have also suggested that its upcoming Meizu MX4G may feature a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1536. To a certain extent it appears that Meizu has established its unique selling point as its design aesthetic. They have been successful at creating appealing devices with enough distinguishing characteristics so that their products stand out from other Android handsets across Asia and may see similar profitability results stateside.

An additional hurdle Meizu will face will be the Meizu operating system (OS) – Flyme. Presently Flyme is unknown, untested and unfamiliar to US users and developers. Meizu may choose to overcome this hurdle by adapting to the popular Android OS style currently the dominant preference stateside. There is also the matter of carrier support as devices from incumbent OEMs are currently overflowing the domestic carriers.

Going forward, as Meizu is gearing up for their US launch, should the move stateside prove successful the Chinese company could potentially expand into an international presence. Oppo has released several of its handsets in the United States with some success and is now moving throughout much of Europe. Meizu might be set to follow these global footsteps.

With impressive, elegant and well- designed handsets, Meizu’s January 2014 debut at CES will hopefully more specifically address when, how and at what pricing they intend to crack the U.S. market and meet stateside consumer demands. This will in turn give an indication as to how it wants to tackle other international markets.


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