Motorola's Ming Smart Phone Rocks China

Brian Bremner

In China’s hotly competitive mobile phone space, Motorola has staged a remarkable comeback in 2006. Its market share of the overall mainland cell phone market has jumped from 12% in May, 2005, to around 21% through the first five months of 2006. (That’s not too far off market leader Nokia's 30%.) And the turnaround owes much to a svelte phone and personal digital assistant combo launched in early February and branded in China as the Ming.

Motorola has clearly triggered a heat blast of consumer desire among young Chinese professionals on the go, who are both interested in high-powered functionality plus a cool, edgy design. (Motorola hits you over the head with that duality in one print ad featuring a split image of an attractive Western model in both business attire and a dominatrix outfit.) But what is driving sales of this Linux OS phone is some excellent Chinese language recognition software that makes text messaging a snap, a huge draw for execs.

Another big selling point is the Ming’s two mega-pixel camera with a business card reader function that seamlessly stores names, phone numbers, and e-mail contact information. Motorola has a 50% of these high-end PDA phones in China, a market expected to clock 20% compound annual growth through the end of the decade. Moto is also having no problem selling the Ming at a relatively steep price of $475. I recently posted a story on this gadget you can find here.