Meizu

In Las Vegas, three Chinese Apple iPhone wanna-bees

January 12, 2014: 9:02 AM ET

Plus, two CEOs who have been dubbed the Steve Jobs of China.

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CES 2014. Photo: Digital Trends

FORTUNE -- I'm glad it was Tiernan Ray and not me who submitted to briefings by three Chinese smartphone makers -- Huawei, ZTE and Meizu -- at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Maybe I've covered too many over-crowded trade shows. Or fielded too many over-caffinated sales pitches in broken English. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

In any event, I learned several things from Ray's write-up in the current issue of Barrons (available free as a one-pass):

  • The highest honorific for a Chinese entrepreneur is to be likened to Apple's (AAPL) co-founder. According to Ray, Meizu CEO Jack Wong and Xiaomi's Lei Jun are both "the Steve Jobs of China."
  • Having clawed their way near the top ranks of smartphone makers on the strength of their sales in China, Huawei (No. 3 globally, according to Strategy Analytics), ZTE (No. 9) and Meizu (No. 24) believe they are ready to take on Apple and Samsung in the U.S. market.
  • Although they heap praise on Apple designs, their approach is more Samsung: Throwing in all sorts of flashy features -- 6.1-inch screens, panoramic selfies, two-day batteries, a single pulsing light that is the lock/unlock button -- to see what sticks.

"The wave of Chinese brands emerging is huge," Strategy Analytics' Neil Mawston told Ray, involving "literally hundreds" of scrappy manufacturers. "If you fire off enough shots," says Mawston, "eventually one of them will hit the target."

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    FORTUNE -- When Apple (AAPL) releases the iPhone 5 in China next week, it will be competing with local manufacturers who have studied Steve Jobs' every move, down to the cut of his black mock turtleneck.

    M.I.C. Gadget produced this video of the elaborate launch in Beijing of the latest offering from Guangdong-based Meizu. You wouldn't know it from the event's MORE

    - Dec 4, 2012 10:21 AM ET
  • Android gets Retina Display for October?

    Is LG shipping some of Apple's Retina Displays over to the Android camp?

    Steve Jobs said at this year's Apple WWDC,

    "You can't make an OLED display with this type of resolution right now. Retina display is going to set the standard for displays for the next several years. We don't think anybody's going to come close."

    While Samsung thinks its Super-AMOLED screens are better, another Android maker is going to be picking up MORE

    - Aug 17, 2010 4:02 PM ET
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