China Mobile has signed strategic letters of intent with ten Chinese mobile device channel partners, including Oppo, Vivo, Gionee, D.Phone, Suning, Gome, Lenovo, Xiaomi, JD, and Tmall.
The aim of the agreements, whose financial details are not available, is to promote both 3G and 4G services in China.
These deals come at the same time as China Mobile's signing of a deal with U.S.-based Apple for promotion of 4G services via the iPhone. That these domestic deals were signed at the same time as Apple's may portend a move in the future for China Mobile to drop Apple in favor of domestic phone carriers once 4G takes off. China Mobile and the other Chinese mobile telecommunications companies have a history of this type of end-around on deals with foreign companies, as they have done similar moves with wireless value-added services firms over the last twelve years.
China Mobile previously teamed with Oppo, Vivo, Gionee, D.Phone, Suning, Gome, and JD in 2012 for the sale of TD-SCDMA 3G devices. Over the past year, China Mobile and its partners achieved good results via these joint efforts. In 2013, those seven companies expected to sell 35 million TD devices, and D.Phone, Suning, and Gome have established specialty counters for TD devices in over 4000 chain stores and kiosks across China. The three channel providers will see tripled sales of TD devices year-over-year in 2013.
A representative from China Mobile revealed that with the development of TD devices, the product competitiveness grows stronger and more domestic Chinese channel partners have joined the TD sales team. Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Tmall have great shares and brand recognition in the Chinese device sales market. With the signing of the letters of intent, these three companies will cooperate with China Mobile in the marketing and promotion of 3G and 4G devices.