Can You Hear Me Now? Top Regional Niche Smartphone Manufacturers

Melina-DrugaIn today’s connected world, nearly everyone owns a mobile phone and, if they do, chances are that device is a smartphone.

Smartphones generally run on one of two operating systems:  Google’s Android or Apple’s IOS.  Globally, Android is winning the fight with a 81.1%  market share, according to IDC.  Windows, however, is the third most-popular operating system and also the fastest growing.  Current market share for Windows, according to IDC, is 2.6%, but is forecasted to grow to 3.6% in 2019.

Everyone has heard of Samsung, Apple and Motorola, but there are several smaller niche manufacturers available.  The following niche manufacturers are prepared to compete with the big boys.



A French manufacturer that rose from obscurity to success in less than five years.



A Chinese company, it is the largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer in the world.


number-3Alcatel Onetouch

The mobile division of a Chinese telecommunications company



1.Wiko Mobile


“Technology is not sacred.  Our customers are.” – Wiko


Founded in Marseille, France, in 2011, the company’s goal is to “share our expertise with our customers by offering them products similar to them, facilitating their daily lives.”  They accomplish this by combining technology with design and offering products at a modest price.  The company refers to itself as a game changer.

Wiko manufactures dozens of Android smartphone models and seven feature phone models as well as smartphone cases.  It is 95% owned by China’s Tinno Mobile Technology, and all products are manufactured in China.  The Marseille office handles only marketing and localization.

Despite hardly being a French company, it has won loyal customers with attentive customer service.

By early 2015, Wiko had become one of the top five smartphone vendors in France, according to Gartner.  This success has been attributed to good management, local advertising and affordable products.

The smartphone market in France is expected to stagnant between 2015 and 2020, according to Analysys Mason.  Nearly every mobile phone purchased in 2020, 95.4%, will be a smartphone.

Android devices make up 76% of all smartphones in Europe, according to Kantar World Panel.


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2. Huawei Technologies


“Leading global ICT solutions provider serving telcos, producing enterprise solutions and smartphones for a better connected world.” – Huawei


Founded in 1987, Huawei is headquartered in Shenzhen, China.  It is a telecommunications developer and network provider servicing 170 countries, allowing a third of the world’s population to connect to the Internet.  The company’s goal is to enrich the world through communication.

In addition to servers, cloud computing, transportation networks and other products, Huawei manufactures dozens of smartphone models, tablets and smart watches.

According to Euchina, 77% of Huawei’s revenue is generated from the company’s carrier-network business.  It holds more patents than any other Chinese company, and invests more than 10% of their revenue in research and development.

Huawei’s top competitor in the Chinese smartphone market is Xiaomi, according to IDC.  Factors affecting the market include government regulation of data usage, the speed of shipments and finding new customers.

During the first quarter of 2016, Huawei had an 8.3% market share, according to Gartner, and the company sold 28,861 units.  It had a 37% market growth year-over-year, according to IDC, and became the fourth smartphone vendor to ever ship 100 million units in one year.


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3. Alcatel Mobile


“We design and develop Android and mobile products to be as individual as the people who use them.” – Alcatel



Alcatel Mobile is trademarked by Alcatel-Lucent and used under license.  The brand, launched in 2011, is owned by TCT Communications, an international mobile-device and communication company.   TCT sells mobile devices in 170 countries and its target customers are Millennials and Generation Zers.

TCT Communications is headquartered in Shenzhen, China.  In 2015, sales of mobile devices grew 7% to 44.5 million units.  It was the top Chinese phone manufacturer in foreign markets and the No. 8 manufacturer worldwide, the company said.

A dozen smartphones, nine tablets and seven smart watches are manufactured under the Alcatel name.

Globally, the smartphone market is expected to experience slower growth in 2016 than it has in past seven years, according to Gartner. Growth is expected to be 7% and reach 1.5 billion units.  Growth in 2015 was 14.4%.  This slower growth is caused by maturation in many markets as well as users keeping their devices for longer periods before replacing them.

IDC forecasts smartphone shipments will grow 3.1%, but this will be lower than 10.5% growth experienced in 2015 and the 27.8% growth experienced in 2014.  In 2020, shipments are forecasted to reach 1.84 billion units, 2.6% lower than earlier forecasts.


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