BEIJING Motorola, the mobile handset maker bought by China's Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK) from Google Inc (GOOGL.O) for $2.9 billion, is optimistic about its prospects in the Chinese market, its president told Reuters.
Lenovo's acquisition, completed three months ago, ended Google's move into the consumer mobile handset business. The deal has turned personal computer-maker Lenovo into a challenger in the higher-end smartphone market, competing with Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).
"The (Chinese) market itself is so big here and Motorola has no share today, so we believe that what we’re really going to succeed in doing is hopefully take some share from other people in the market," Rick Osterloh, President of Motorola Mobility told Reuters.
Motorola will compete in China with Apple and Samsung in the premium smartphone market and with the world's third biggest smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL] in mid- and mid-high level phones. Lenovo is already the number two smartphone maker in China.
"Our approach is to have global products tailored and customised for local markets," Motorola's Osterloh said. Motorola will also stick to relatively high-end products, he said.
Bryan Ma, a Singapore-based analyst at tech research firm IDC, said Motorola might test the waters with smartphones designed for the Americas, but in the next 12-24 months they could announce more localised products.
"They're trying to introduce themselves to a new group of friends and trying to establish street cred," Ma said. "What they have in their pockets is assets from the U.S."
"The good thing is Lenovo has enough of a strong cash position and local channel presence that they can bankroll Motorola in the country for while," Ma said.
($1 = 6.2535 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Editing by Jane Merriman)