How popular is Android in China

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying cell phones from China

By Madlen Schäfer | August 05, 2019, 12:44 p.m.

Smartphones from Chinese manufacturers are becoming increasingly popular. Those who buy the cell phones in China can even save a lot of money. An expert explains what to look out for.

“Made in China” - for a long time this was seen as a seal for cheap and inferior quality goods. In the technology sector, too, many people preferred to avoid devices or even smartphones from the People's Republic of China. There was too much concern that the technology bargains that were ordered would not work and that they were mostly just bad copies from other manufacturers anyway. To come to the point: the tide has turned. Shenzhen has long since grown into the largest electronics market in the world.

Especially in the smartphone market, the devices from the Middle Kingdom have caught up a lot in terms of software and hardware. In addition, they are usually unbeatable in one point: the price. That is the reason why more and more people - also in this country - order inexpensive cell phones online from the Far East. We asked the expert Jonas Andre what buyers have to consider when they use smartphones from China. Just a few years ago, ordering a smartphone from China was very complicated. “At that time, the cell phones didn't work right away, and software usually had to be installed on the smartphone,” explains Jonas Andre. In order to give other people advice on ordering their mobile phones from China, he and others started the website Chinahandys.net, on which they test different devices from China and write testimonials about them.

Advantages of Chinese Cell Phones

The biggest advantage of cell phones made in China is their price. “Consumers can save an average of 30 to 40 percent compared to the price on the German market,” says Jonas Andre. And it can even get cheaper in some cases. For example, some people buy smartphones from Chinese manufacturers that no longer exist because the companies have gone bankrupt. “An example of this is LeEco. The manufacturer went bankrupt in 2018, but was popular with many people because the hardware of the smartphones was and is very good to this day. Some consumers still buy cell phones from China for around 80 euros and upgrade the software themselves, ”says Jonas Andre. As a rule, upgrading the software of current China cell phones is not necessary. However, should this be necessary, there is numerous open source software available to keep the smartphone operational and up to date.

Not only the price is the focus of the buyer, also the exclusivity plays a decisive role. "Chinese cell phones are also of interest to people with special smartphone requirements. Some want the best of the best and are happy to pay a reasonable price for them," says Jonas Andre. These include the Oppo Find X for around 800 euros with a fold-out camera or the Vivo Nex for around 600 euros with a retractable front camera. Some cell phones are not manufactured for the European market and are therefore not available for purchase here.

Some brands cannot establish themselves in China and are only produced for overseas. These brands usually cover special niches, such as smartphones for outdoor use or cell phones with two to three times larger batteries. Brands such as Cubot, ULU Phone or Blackview are among them.

By the way: Not only are smartphones cheaper on the Chinese market, spare parts also cost significantly less.

Where are the best places for consumers to buy smartphones from China?

There are many online retailers who trade in smartphones from China. Interested parties will also find what they are looking for on Ebay or Amazon - but extreme caution is advised there. “With Amazon or Ebay, it may be necessary for buyers to go to customs. In addition, retailers on these portals often do not correctly declare whether they purchase the goods from Germany or directly from China, ”says Jonas Andre.

The expert recommends large Chinese shops such as Gearbest, Bang Good or AliExpress. “In the case of smaller online shops, it may be necessary for the buyer to go to customs. Large shops, on the other hand, send their goods to an EU warehouse, from where they are first sent to Germany - a customs visit for consumers is excluded, ”explains Andre.

Disadvantages of buying cell phones from China

Where the cell phone comes from is actually relevant when it comes to warranty. This is different for smartphones from China than for devices from Germany. "When buying smartphones from China, the buyer waives the warranty under German law," says Jonas Andre. In the event of problems, buyers would usually have to agree with the respective shop and negotiate the guarantee according to the case. In German shops, however, the guarantee is fixed under German law. In the event of problems, consumers can sue them with a lawyer, for example.

Buyers should also be aware that delivery times are often significantly longer. It takes about ten to 15 days for the ordered smartphone to arrive at home. The consumer need not be afraid of non-delivery. A delivery is guaranteed in the Chinese shops, in the event of incorrect or defective goods, the money is given back. “In case of doubt, repairing a defective smartphone can take longer because the cell phone has to be sent to China at great expense. Repair times of four weeks are also lurking for cell phones from Germany from a Chinese manufacturer, which are also sent to China for repair, ”says Jonas Andre.

Last but not least, the security aspect always has an impact on Chinese smartphones. It is not clear to what extent the Chinese government is involved in obtaining user data. The fact is: The People's Republic of China is censoring the Internet in its own country - Facebook and Co. do not exist there, but domestic alternatives. Anyone who interferes so strongly with the freedom of information of their citizens should not be blindly trusted when it comes to data protection. At least one should be aware that there is a possibility that the government could have a hand in the tech companies as well.

The bestsellers

If you choose a smartphone from China, you should first be patient. “If a manufacturer brings a cell phone onto the market, interested parties should wait for the feedback. The newest is not always the best - especially with small manufacturers, ”warns Andre.

There are mainly three smartphones that are particularly popular with German buyers and therefore often end up in the virtual shopping basket. The strongest brand is Xiaomi and the high-end device Xiaomi Mi 9. Also a sub-brand of Xiaomi, Redmi, is very interesting for buyers from Germany - above all the Redmi Note 7. The devices from Meizu are still on the advance, have also fans in Germany. Consumers most often buy the Meizu Note 9 here. If you are still unsure whether a smartphone from China is an option for you, you can use the advisory search on Chinahandys.net.

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