Chinese phone makers are desperate for attention as Samsung sits pretty

There was a time when Chinese smartphone makers were considered to be the real threat for the incumbent players. They came hard and fast at the leading companies with an insatiable hunger for a piece of the pie. The formula that these companies relied on was simple. Aggressively price devices with similar or better specs while compromising on build quality and materials.

Initially, this formula worked well, particularly in emerging markets where the majority of customers are highly price conscious. It wasn’t long before analysts started predicting the demise of the major players. It felt that nothing could stop the Chinese onslaught. Truth be told, it did contribute to the demise of many players like LG, HTC, Sony, and others.

Samsung is the only Android smartphone manufacturer that has not only survived this challenge but thrived in the face of it. Even in hotly contested markets like India, Samsung has been able to retain its dominance. It goes to show that the Chinese had miscalculated. While price does play a major role in steering customers’ purchase decisions, it’s far from being the only consideration.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturers have always focused on providing more specs on paper, since that is how most average customers compare devices. For example, the average customer will feel that a 12-megapixel camera is better than a 10-megapixel camera, but that may not necessarily be true. A higher megapixel count doesn’t always result in a better picture quality.

We see this happening even with foldable smartphones, as these manufacturers are now trying to compete against Samsung’s utter dominance of the space. Sure, the Chinese Galaxy Z Fold 4 rival may have slightly better specs on paper, but it falls short in a lot more ways. If anything, this focus on one-upping rivals on the specs sheet seems like a desperate attempt at seeking attention.

It hasn’t really been working. Despite better spec sheets, the Chinese manufacturers have struggled to overtake Samsung in key emerging markets. They’ve been at it for a while now and if this hasn’t worked for several years, clearly there’s something wrong with this strategy. No matter how much Chinese leakers try to suggest otherwise.

Samsung understood this early on and that’s why it didn’t take the bait. The company didn’t allow itself to be lured into this spec race against the Chinese. There was no need to. Samsung devices have a lot more going for them. Therefore, the company doesn’t need to worry about what its Chinese rivals are putting on the specs sheet. That doesn’t mean Samsung should rest on its laurels. It should strive to maintain competitiveness and parity.

It goes without saying that Samsung is the king of the Android smartphone market. No other company has the kind of dominance and status that it does. That’s partly due to the excellent products that it offers and also due to its exceptional brand equity and its vast customer service network. None of its rivals can match Samsung on this front.

The Chinese particularly lack in after sales support. They don’t have the kind of network that Samsung has spent decades developing across the globe. I have been a beneficiary of it on multiple occasions, as recently as last month, when I was able to get my Galaxy Z Flip 3 repaired at an official Samsung service center while on a visit to another country.

Beyond the support and repair network, Samsung’s partnerships with retailers, carriers, and even financial institutions provide customers will more opportunities to get the best value for their money. Only today the company announced the launch of a new co-brand credit card that lets customers get cashback on purchases of Galaxy devices.

It’s great to see that Samsung didn’t allow itself to get distracted by what the new kids on the block were doing. The company stuck to its guns and that has paid off. One can only hope for consistency going forward. Samsung has a winning formula on its hands and the company just needs to extract the most out of it. Its product lineup speaks for itself and Samsung’s reliance on foldables will ensure that the Korean giant will continue to rule the Android smartphone market for years to come.

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