I really enjoyed this piece by Sam Byford of Multicore about how the Chinese smartphone market differs from the rest of the world:
Unlike the U.S., the Chinese phone market is extremely competitive from top to bottom. At the high end you have Apple, of course, then there are Android options from Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo, all of which make legitimately excellent hardware at this point…. What this means is it’s really easy to switch phones in China. If you have an iPhone in the U.S., you’re likely locked into iMessage, but in China that’s a non-factor because of WeChat. If you have a Samsung phone in the U.S., meanwhile, your only other real high-end options are niche players like Google and OnePlus. Smartphone users in China — and there are more than a billion of them — can hop from Xiaomi to Apple to Huawei with much less friction.
Byford explains the important role Xiaomi plays in the ecosystem and why a camera brand like Leica would partner with a company that, to western eyes, seems like it’s making “knock-offs.”
—Linked by Jason Snell