From chow mein to phones

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CHINESE WHISPERS A wide range and a competitive price tag have made these Chinese cellphones a hit
CHINESE WHISPERS A wide range and a competitive price tag have made these Chinese cellphones a hit

Blending imagination and technology, Chinese mobile phones are the newest buzz in the market. From surfing the Net, to watching TV or listening to radio there is amazing variety

The newest buzz in the mobile phone market is ‘Made in China’. I know that we all know that most of our Nokias, Samsungs, LGs, Sony Ericssons are all made in Chinabut this one is about the Noklas and the Samkungs.

Having seen the Chinese phones and shunned them in all patriotism and a healthy dose of snobbery I head for Guardian Electronics, which appears to be just another mobile phone store on the outside. But what a world of discovery awaits inside. P. M. Rasheed, the proprietor, opens the door to the world of Chinese made phones.

Canton Fair

These mobile phones are unbranded ones which were first launched in October 2007 at the Canton Fair I am told. “The eyes of the whole world were trained on the Canton Fair. There were buyers from all over the world when the Chinese phones were launched. What variety! The prices! Making phones is almost like a small scale industry there. In fact, the case is such that two to three households get together and voila…there you have a mobile phone assembling unit.”

Rasheed imports these phones from China through a Hong Kong-based company, Asiana Telecom. The route, is via Chennai. Most mobile phone outlets get their Chinese phones from there.

Actually, if you get past the initial bias against China-made phones in particular and Chinese goods in general, these phones are quite okay. Although they might appear to be a bit too loud, on closer inspection they are not all that jazzy and not steep, price wise. If for Rs. 1, 800 you get the basic model of the branded phones, for some more money (around Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 more) you could buy yourself some mean technology.

The Chinese phones are a happy marriage of imagination and technology. Imagine being able to use two SIM cards in the same phone without the hassle of carrying two handsets or for that matter a phone that works on both GSM and CDMA technology.

Twin cards

At the time of writing it was too good to be true but now there are some brands marketing this kind of handset. “For those who travel abroad these phones are blessing. For a businessman who travels abroad it makes sense to have two SIM cards, one from India and the other local. Things are so much simpler than carting around two mobile phones or paying exorbitant amounts of money as bill for every necessary and unnecessary incoming call,” says Rasheed.

The workings of the twin SIM phones are rather simple, if you are on one line and you get a call on the other line, the caller would be simply put on call waiting till such time that you can take the call. There are several varieties of such phones. And if you thought listening to FM or surfing the Net were as far as you could go where mobile phones were concerned you are clearly outdated. You can watch television, live television on these beauties; in fact some of these have small tripods on which to rest these phones…for viewing comfort. If you clip on the cable connection, voila! You won’t miss your favourite soap or cricket match. Use and dispensation of technology…the Chinese sure know how to do it.

All this technology at not more Rs. 6,200 at the most. The quality then? “There is strict quality control when it comes to these phones as well,” says Rasheed.

Warranty then? “There is no warranty!” as simple as that. “But look at it this way, if you were to buy a branded phone with the same facilities you would have to pay not less than Rs. 35,000. But if you want the same when it comes to phones of Chinese make, you can buy five of these,” says Rasheed. “There are enough service centres to service such phones,” says Anoop who runs a mobile phone shop. “Initially there was a lot of hesitation when it comes to buying Chinese made phones. Getting components is not difficult.”

And SAR (Specific Absorption Rate)? “The SAR figures of these phones would be more or less the same as those of the other branded made-in-China phones. It would not make any business sense for them to invest more in fine particles so as to increase receptivity and thereby raising the levels of absorption of radiation,” says Rasheed.

However, there are some mobile phone shops that do not stock these phones, “That is not the clientele that we are looking at. Since we cannot give a warranty, we would rather not get in to trouble with our customers,” says a mobile phone shop owner.

While argument continues, those marketing Chinese made mobile phones are raking in the moolah.





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