Vivo draws insights from Alibaba TMIC for new Chinese smartphone

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Alibaba has teamed up with smartphone manufacturer Vivo to unleash a new handset onto the Chinese market, with an expected launch date in Q4 this year.

Alibaba will have an easier task in launching their smartphone than Amazon faced in the West. Amazon’s first Fire Phone was a flop as it wasn’t what customers wanted and they had no history in the smartphone arena, although industry gossip is that Amazon will launch another version in a second attempt in the near future.

By working with Vivo to develop a smartphone, Alibaba have a partner with mobile handset experience Vivo are estimated to already have a 16% market share of handset sales in China. Only Huawei (22%) and OPPO (18%) have a larger share of the market than Vivo.

Vivo and Alibaba’s Tmall Innovation Center (TMIC) are teaming up to create the smartphone and the conceptualization of this co-designed device will rely heavily on market intelligence and consumer feedback collected and analyzed by TMIC.

This type of manufacturing model takes the opposite tack from more-traditional models, which give the consumers almost no say in what hits the store shelves. Alibaba founder Jack Ma coined as “New Manufacturing” the practise of getting input from the end customer right at the design stage. By drawing on insights and trends from Tmall’s 500-million plus customer base, TMIC says it will help them have a higher chance of producing a winning product that’s accepted by the demographic they wish to target.

“Our foremost intention is always to create products that our customers truly like and based on their needs, by leveraging consumer insights provided by TMIC, consumers will have more say on what kind of product best suit them. Consumers can essentially decide what kind of products they want. This is really meeting the needs of the end-users.”
– Wang Yonggang, head of ecommerce division, Vivo

The real interest with the Alibaba Vivo smartphone will be how closely it ties consumers into Alibaba’s ecosystem. Reports have suggested that the phone will be all about shopping on Alibaba but that in part is the mistake Amazon made. Alibaba and specifically TMIC are more interested in helping partners produce products that Chinese consumers actually want to buy then in developing a product that ties them to the Alibaba marketplace.

Currently TMIC is naturally focused on larger manufactures and retailers, but Alibaba have a habit of starting big and then rolling their programs down to smaller retailers and suppliers. Watch this space for more news as soon as we hear that there’s help for smaller manufacturers and suppliers.

How TMIC Helps Brands target Chinese consumers

The mission of TMIC is to help brands, overseas and foreign, explore new ways to tap into the Chinese market by using precise market analysis, real-time consumer insights, and test models. The services range from helping brands come up with China-centric products, to revamping their online flagship store homepages, curating marketing campaigns and redesigning the brand’s brick-and-mortar shops to attract more foot traffic.

One Response

  1. not sure that’s a phone. ad looks like it’s for a marital aid.
    she’s not even holding it, unless she’s a contortionist that’s someone else’s hand waving it at her utterly dissatisfied face.
    is this a result of the insight gained from TMIC?


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