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Chinese smartphone brands make bid for international market

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Look out Apple and Samsung – your domination and bi-lateral skirmishes may soon be coming to an end. It had to happen though really. After years of manufacturing phones for Western companies, it seems that the Chinese are no longer content to simply be a factory, but are making their own bid for a hefty slice of the smartphone market.

Flush with their success in the domestic Chinese market, brands such as Yulong, Xiaomi and ZTE are now planning to hit the international stage. With more than a third of all smartphones being sold in China, their growing success at home is no mean feat and has prepared them for foreign expansion.

Chinese brands now account for a fifth of smartphones sold internationally and as we stand today, 4 of the top 10 phone makers are Chinese. While they still have a way to go before hitting the dizzy heights of Apple and Blackberry, they are already outselling the likes of Nokia and Blackberry.

Lenovo, which has already overtaken Hewlett-Packard as the top seller of personal computers globally, announced this week that combined sales of its phones and tablets have overtaken sales of its traditional computers.

Its chief executive, Yang Yuanqing, espouses what he calls a "two fist" strategy – defending the home turf with one hand and attacking abroad with the other.

"We have very aggressive plans to explore overseas markets," Lenovo's mobile boss Liu Jun told China Daily this week. "We hope the overseas market will contribute more than half of Lenovo's total smartphone revenue in the long run."

Flexibility is the key to the ‘two fist’ strategy – so while these companies still employ donkeys to deliver technology to remote rural areas, they are also using American stars to promote their wares at ever more glitzy launches. China has learned all the lessons of Western tech firms, discreetly probed all the blueprints in its role as manufacturer and is now set to make it’s move.

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