Can You Really Build A Smartphone Empire For $1000?

Business / Tech

Can you really build a smartphone empire for a $1000 investment? The folks over at Bloomberg think you can and compete with the likes of Samsung. Seems a small company in China, Shenzhen Zuoer Technology Co., is helping customers build their own smartphones all for just a measly investment of $1000. Zuoer will build your smartphone for as low as $20 per unit. Made out of other manufacturer’s parts like LCD screens, circuit boards and batteries you only need to order 50 units for Zuoer to consider you a customer.

“The emergence of low-end phone vendors is chipping away at Samsung’s share,” said John Butler, who tracks the smartphone market for Bloomberg Intelligence. “These new entrants are quite small in comparison to a giant like Samsung, but their collective impact is weighing on Samsung’s results and those of other major vendors.”

Zuoer can help people accomplish their own smartphone build by using Google’s free Android operating system as well as standardized smartphone parts. Two of the more prominent small device makers, Xiaomi and One Plus, started out bare bones and have since taken a fair amount of market considering their size.

“It’s cheaper and faster because the supply chain has become so mature and standardized,” Mosetefa Zhang, head of international sales at Oysin, said over Chinese tea in a high-rise building in Shenzhen’s Huaqianqbei electronics district.


courtesy of Bloomberg

Bloomberg suggests that anyone can get into the market, at such a low cost, and be able to compete with Samsung. While there is some truth to that, I don’t think it is that simple. While it’s probably true that smaller device makers are eating into some of Samsung’s profits and sales, that is a collective effort (all smaller manufacturers combined). For one small company to have to compete with Samsung’s marketing machine, that takes an awful lot of dollars to do. Finally, at $20 a unit, I think it’s safe to say these standardized parts are not high end so one would essentially be making a budget phone.

Building a budget phone isn’t a bad thing, but it also doesn’t put one on the same level as Samsung. Overall though, if one could find a place in emerging markets and markets looking for budget phones. It certainly is possible to make a smartphone empire with a mere $1000.

What do you think about small smartphone makers? Are they really that big a threat to Samsung and other larger device makers? Would you invest $1000 to try and make your own empire? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  Source: Bloomberg
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