Friday, November 8, 2013

Vivo and the Giant Inflatable Android Robot in Zhuhai

During a recent visit to a shopping district in Zhuhai's Nanping Town, I spoke to salespeople at several stores, each of which sold a variety of mobile phones. Some of what I heard and saw matched up with what I have seen in reports about China's mobile phone market. But some did not.

An example of the former was the apparent popularity of smartphones running the Android operating system. An example of the latter is highlighted in this photo:

a large blue inflated Android robot with the Vivo logo on a sidewalk at a Zhuhai shopping district

Yes, that's a giant inflatable blue Android robot with the logo of BBK's Vivo brand. If you didn't know before, you can probably now guess that Vivo phones run the Android operating system. Vivo is not a Chinese brand often mentioned in the news or always included in charts of mobile phone market share, but salespeople at a couple of mobile phone stores told me Vivo was their top seller. At some other stores it was near the top. And at one store, when I asked the manager to show me something "interesting" after having looked at a Xiaomi phone, without hesitation he brought me over to a case of Vivo phones. I am not able to verify the claims of Vivo sales, but promotions for Vivo were easy to see at several stores in the form of tents or the common-in-China inflatable arch.

a Vivo sales promotion tent and several Vivo inflatable arches in Zhuhai

There was only one giant Android robot though.

Like the outdoor sales promotions for Xiaomi I saw in the same shopping district, for now this is shared in the spirit of "some of what I saw and heard in one small part of China". Later, I will share a little more in this spirit before discussing recent reports and commentary regarding mobile phone sales in China. I will particularly focus on two brands which have recently received much more media attention than Vivo--Apple and Xiaomi.

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