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What future for Vietnam-made mobile phones?   2008-08-24 - eChip Mobile

A mobile phone shop in Hanoi
Creating Vietnamese cell phone brands is the wish of many people. But the gap between wish and reality is broad. How has Vietnam progressed in this field?


Vietnamese mobile phones – more brands


Fierce competition in the mobile phone market has forced mobile traders to employ different policies to promote their business. Building up their own brands has been selected by many companies.


The profit rate from doing business with a specific brand of mobile phones is remarkably higher than working as a sales agent for Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, etc. That’s the outstanding advantage of developing specific brands.


Companies that choose this development policy hope that their cell phone brands, which are multi-function, low cost, can gain a foothold in the cell-phone market. This thinking is sound as the market segment for low-cost cell phones has seen a high growth rate.


Few people could tell you the name of the first Vietnamese mobile phone brand, Vfone of Maseco. It may be because this brand no longer exists.


In recent years, many people, even ones who work in the mobile industry, have thought brands of Wellcom, Mobell, Vcall, E-touch, Malata, Connspeed, Bavapen, Q-Mobile, HQ are all Vietnamese brands. Actually, just Bavapen, Connspeed, and Q-mobile are Vietnamese brands. The remaining are foreign ones.


Besides the appearance of more and more Vietnamese mobile phone brands, mobile phone producers have gradually modified their viewpoints in building brands. Initially, most producers wanted to create brands that look “western” but now they want to Vietnamise their brands.


Many companies are advertising their brands as “The first announced Vietnamese mobile phone brand” or “Standardised mobile phone brand for Vietnamese”. Perhaps this is the move that will consolidate trust in locally-made cell phones.


But what is the reality?


The positive changes in the points of view of producers can’t change the prejudice of customers. They still think that these brands are Chinese ones.


This fact may be explained by the following arguments. Firstly, Vietnamese companies are not even able to make their own brands different from other local brands, let alone reputed mobile phone brands in the world. Without differences, customers can’t distinguish cell phone brands of Vietnam and foreign ones.


Secondly, Vietnam doesn’t have professional cell phone processors who own big production lines like those in China or Taiwan. As a result, they have to hire Chinese and Taiwanese factories to cut production costs. And this causes a problem: all designs are similar to each other and similar to Chinese mobile products.


Efforts should be recognised


Vietnamese mobile phone producers understand this and the thinking of customers and they are trying to solve these problems.


Wishing to make real Vietnamese cell phones, ABTel has integrated some contents and Vietnamese images into their mobile phone models. Q-Mobile Z23 model has a collection of photos of Vietnamese landscapes such as Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Cave, etc. ABTel said it will integrate some new technologies into its phones.


Thanh Cong Mobile is trying to improve its Bavapen brand by developing a luxurious model, Bavapen P800 for businessmen, which uses Windows Mobile software, QWERTY keyboard, integrated with Bluetooth and other high-class utilities.


With P800, Thanh Cong Mobile is laying the foundation for developing a true Vietnamese cell phone brand through diversifying and differentiating product quality.


Though Vietnamese cell phone brands can’t compare with reputed brands, Vietnamese producers are striving to better their products, so it is hoped that in the near future, Vietnamese users can own Vietnamese mobile phones of high quality. And moreover, one day Vietnamese cell phones will be able to satisfy foreign users.


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