China Enjoys Home-Made Mobile Platforms

Asian countries prefer local-made technologies and devices, especially where non-Latin alphabets are prevalent, studies have found out. In China, there is a rising trend in the use of locally-developed smartphone and smartphone operating systems.

The Xiaomi MiOne is an example of a Chinese-developed smartphone.

The rise is slow, but the trend is showing that consumers are likely to use locally-developed smartphone OSes bundled with local online services, IDC reported in Made in China: Mobile Operating Systems.

One such example of a homegrown mobile OS is MIUI, an Android-based custom firmware launched late last year by Beijing-based mobile phone company Xiaomi Tech. MIUI powers Xiamo’s low budget smartphone, the Mi-ONE, sometimes also referred as MI-ONE Plus or the Xiaomi Phone. Despite the pre-installed OS, it also supports stock Android ROMs and other third party ROMs.

The integration of native OSs and internet services will form a competitive advantage over their Western or international counterparts. On the other hand, most of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) see the OS as a platform to create additional revenue streams. People buy the mobile devices not only for the device itself and OS, but the suite of apps that a user can take advantage of for activities such as entertainment, productivity, education, socialization and utility.

The 17-page study tells us that with rich apps, and a robust, user-friendly OS, people will utilize their devices longer, which will likewise raise the data plan usage, to the benefit of the carrier. It will help increase adoption of smartphones in rural areas, which will soon render the feature phone obsolete. Developers can use this as an opportunity to create additional revenue streams, or increase their margins.

In the end, this can lead to Chinese users catching up with the latest trends in smartphone use. It was also IDC that said smartphones will surpass feature phones in sales by next year. By the end of this year, it spots only 8 million differences, with 144 million units out of 280 million devices in total.

The momentum of 3G technology implementation in the country has successfully embraced the smart phone shipment, with mobile data plans are getting higher and the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) continues to grow.

But IDC highlighted that the ecosystem is young. At this point, some of them might struggle soon and die. The prediction is that only few players will battle head-to-head with the western giants.

About Xiaomi, which is perceived as the role model, IDC analyst Ian Song told to The Register “IDC believes Xiaomi is on the right track with first creating a great user experience, then putting it on a desirable device, all of which will be instrumental in getting its users to MIUI-based service, thus enlarging its services based revenues, and creating sticky user experiences not unlike what Apple has done.”