Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Philippines’ connection to the World Wide Web, which might set off waves of nostalgia for some of you who may be old enough to remember the infancy of Internet culture in the country.
But enough about me, let’s talk about how where the Philippines is right now in terms of Internet adoption. Spoiler alert: Things don’t look rosy if the latest State of the Internet Report by networking-services company Akamai Technologies is to be believed. In fact, judging by how local Internet service providers have performed the past quarter, you could argue that the Philippines hasn’t matured enough with time. Which is a bit like saying the rest of the world has moved on to HTML5, whereas we’re still collectively living in the Adobe Flash Player era. Or that we’re rooting for Michael Jordan and the 90’s Chicago Bulls to win the NBA championship in 2016.
The Philippines, based on Akamai’s Q4 2015 survey, has the second-worst average broadband connection speed in the Asia-Pacific region, barely besting only India (3.2Mbps vs. 2.8Mbps). The country’s peak download speed of 27Mbps also trails most of its Asian neighbors, with only China and India faring worse. On a slightly positive note, the numbers have improved drastically year-over-year, which might indicate better days are ahead. Or at least I’d like to think so, what with the proliferation of residential fiber-broadband access and increasing competition between service providers. And I don’t mean the kind of competition that’s led to Australian telecom giant Telstra waving the white flag on a joint venture with San Miguel Corporation, as unfortunate as the situation with the local telecom industry is.
Nokia touts an ‘asset-light’ approach to smartphone success
It’s actually working!
A lifetime ago, Nokia dominated the entire smartphone industry. From tough-as-nails brick phones to flashy flip phones, everyone carried one of Nokia’s iconic lineup. Suffice to say, we wouldn’t have a flourishing smartphone market today without Nokia’s pioneering.
Sadly, Nokia’s exploits crashed and burned after Apple’s more aggressive marketing. Today, the market consists almost exclusively of thin slab phones. With that, Nokia bowed out to a thinner form factor. The company sold its mobile assets to Microsoft.
After several years, Nokia eventually regained rights to make new phones through a licensing deal with HMD Global. Now, the company is on track to make another killing in the market.
Talking to press in India, HMD Global VP and Country Head Ajey Mehta detailed Nokia’s roadmap for market dominance. Additionally, he explained how his brand got back to a respectable position today.
As opposed to hardware-driven brands like Samsung and Apple, HMD Global prides itself with success “built purely on partnerships.” Tagged as an asset-light approach, Nokia’s phones stand because of hardware from Foxconn and software from Google. Even now, Nokia’s new generation is a champion of Google’s Android One program. Going forward, Mehta sees this approach as a vital key to further success.
Additionally, Nokia’s current lineup runs the whole gamut. Initially, the company resurrected with a plethora of feature phones. Now, they offer a model for all market segments. Despite the free-flowing approach, HMD Global still chooses one or two models as champions for the Nokia brand. With this, Nokia can maintain a wide variety of products while specializing in a specific segment.
In terms of marketing, Nokia understands its distribution streams. Online, the brand sees more short-term spikes in sales because of the specs-dependent consumer. On the other hand, offline selling offers longer-term but slower growth.
Overall, Nokia’s strategy caused an unbelievable growth margin at a recent Counterpoint survey — growing by almost 800 percent. Based on trends alone, Nokia is on track to surpass several brands in the future. Indeed, Mehta claims that the brand will rise as a top three smartphone in the next three to five years. If anything, the company has proven that its asset-light strategy works.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Nokia is the most nostalgic item in the smartphone industry today.
US government will be banned from using Huawei and ZTE tech
Not a total ban, though
The president of the United States has just imposed a major ban against two Chinese tech giants, Huawei and ZTE, from working with the US government. The ban is a component of the Defense Authorization Act which US President Donald Trump has just signed after months of discussions.
We first heard news about the bill earlier this month followed by reports of Huawei spying on people and ZTE getting banned after getting accused of selling merchandise to US rivals. The fiasco hindered Huawei phones from getting sold through US carriers. ZTE, on the other hand, was saved by Trump as confirmed by his tweet.
In the end, though, both Chinese companies now have the same fate. The US Congress worked on a measure that will essentially ban the US government and soon-to-be allies from using components and availing services from Huawei, ZTE, and a number of other Chinese communications companies.
The ban, which will go into effect over the next two years, doesn’t completely cut the ties of the US with Huawei and ZTE. The Chinese companies are not allowed to be part of any “essential” or “critical” systems of the US government, but they can still work with the US government as long as they will not be used to route or view data.
Huawei is not happy about the ban, of course, and calls it a “random addition” to the defense bill which is “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.” The company also said that the ban will increase cost for consumers and businesses.
Via: The Verge
Samsung falls to less than one percent market share in China
Might pull out of Chinese market by next year
Recently, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 to worldwide acclaim. Ironically, despite the positive response, the company is still slogging through one of its most dismal years to date. Previously, the Galaxy S9 opened to tepid, abysmal sales.
Now, with the dawn of more capable competitors, Samsung is falling more drastically than ever before. Formerly a stalwart in China, the company has now fallen to less than one percent market share in one of the world’s biggest markets.
Just a few years ago, Samsung’s phones captured a comfortable market share lead at 20 percent. The huge lead accurately represented Samsung’s grip on the market at the time.
However, with the recent developments (or lack thereof), the balance of power is steadily shifting. This year, gigantic (but more affordable) outings from smaller companies — Huawei, OnePlus, OPPO, Xiaomi — have taken the market by storm.
Besides the downpour of competitive rivals, Samsung has cited the decline of the smartphone market at large as a reason. From the lack of revolutionary features, adoption and upgrade rates have declined, causing an overall plateauing of phone sales.
According to Reuters, Samsung is considering drastic measures to alleviate the slump in sales. Most radically, the company might pull out of the Chinese market entirely.
Specifically, the plan affects Samsung’s Tianjin factory in Northern China. On its own, the facility manufactures 36 million phones per year. Additionally, Samsung has other plants nearby in Huizhou and Vietnam.
Currently, Samsung officials have yet to decide on the Chinese market’s ultimate fate. However, the pull-out is still a tempting move to improve efficiency.
Regardless, Samsung will remain as a global powerhouse even if it withdraws from the Chinese market. If anything, the move will dictate the company’s (and its Chinese competitors’) trajectory for the future.
Besides Samsung, Apple has also fared similarly, bowing out to Chinese brands in multiple markets.
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