While Chinese phones have a huge chunk of the global smartphone marketshare, there are over 100 non-Chinese smartphone brands in existence now. If you were asked to recommend a non-Chinese smartphone brand in 2020, what brand would you pick it from? Are there any cell phones not made in China? And are there any American-made cell phones in 2020?
Yesterday, a friend buzzed me up on WhatsApp. He was shopping for a new smartphone and wanted me to recommend one. He did not want a Chinese smartphone. I will reproduce a small chunk of our conversation here for context.
Friend: Bros…You are the master of this game. That’s why I want to ask you.
Friend: Abeg recommend me a phone of between NGN60,000 to NGN70,000, but good battery life.
Me: Are there any brands you don’t want?
Friend: I do not want most of the Chinko (Infinix, Gionee) aside TECNO and Huawei. I can even extend budget to NGN80,000. I am tired of always charging.
So, I did a quick audit, and having eliminated all Chinese brands, I was left to pick a phone for him from Apple, Nokia, and Samsung. Those were the only non-Chinese smartphone brands left standing.
Someone will ask, “What of Motorola?” Motorola used to be an American brand but now belongs to Lenovo, which is Chinese. So, there’s that.
And what of BlackBerry? Well, it is still a Canadian brand, but when last did anyone here see a store selling a BlackBerry phone? Aha. I cannot remember when last I did.
The Swing from Europe to China
Years ago, most mobile phone brands were European: Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, Alcatel, etc. While there were brands from elsewhere, it was Europe that dictated the trends and had the numbers. But things soon began to change, and today, we are at a point where European smartphone brands are an endangered specie.
Nokia is the last major European brand standing, though there are other smaller brands in operation all over the EU. Samsung and LG are Korean, and Apple and Google are American.
Made In China?
I expect people to respond and point out that most modern smartphones, including Apple, Nokia and Samsung, are made in China. That is true. But it is still not the same thing as those brands being Chinese. All three of them have design and software input from their home bases. The labour force that put iPhones together may be Chinese, but the heart and soul of that phone is unmistakably American.
So, no; Apple iPhone is not a Chinese smartphone. Neither are Nokia and Samsung smartphones. As a matter of fact, here is a good place to list the best non-Chinese smartphone brands that are available in the market now in 2019.
Are there any current cell phones not made in China in 2020?
The big question is, are there any current cell phones not made in China? If they exist, which ones are they and where are they made?
2020 update: Note that if you are hunting for smartphones not made in China, you are going to search hard and long. But, yes; cell phones that are not made in China exist. I can point you in the right direction. In October 2019, Samsung closed its last mobile phone factory in China. Sony also closed its China factory months earlier. Some Apple iPhone models are also no longer made in China.
So, we definitely know for a fact that Samsung and Sony smartphones are not made in China any more. For Samsung, some production happens in South Korea and India. Sony phones are produced in Japan.
And there is ASUS, which has production facilities in Taiwan. Lastly, LG also makes its phones in South Korea. Here is the full list of phones that are not being made in China right now:
4 Best smartphones not made in China
- Samsung – South Korea. Check out the latest Samsung phones.
- Sony – Japan. Check out the latest Sony Xperia phones.
- ASUS – Taiwan
- LG – India, Brazil
We also know that some Apple iPhones smartphones are also not made in China. Some of Apple’s production happens in India as well.
LG, Motorola, and Samsung also have mobile phone manufacturing plants in Brazil, but production in the country keeps reducing and may be brought to a halt erventually.
Are there any American-made cell phones in 2020?
A number of cell phone and smartphone brands used to manufacture their products in the United States of America. These include Motorola in its hey days. Motorola had a manufacturing facility in Forth Worth, Texas.
As at the year 2020, however, all manufacturing of American smartphone brands happen outside of the United States. There are no cell phones made in America any more. All Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones, for example, are manufactured in Asia.
The best non-Chinese smartphone brands
There are over 100 non-Chinese smartphone brands in existence right now. Yes; over 100. The problem is that most of them are very small players and command a very tiny marketshare even when combined together. It would be a tough job listing all of them here, so I am going to restrict this list to those that are the most visible and the best.
- Apple – American
- Samsung Mobile – South Korean
- Nokia Mobile – Finnish
- Google Pixel – American
- Sony Mobile – Japanese
- LG – South Korean
- BLU Products – American
- Lava – Indian
- Sharp – Japanese
- Fairphone – Dutch
- Philips Mobile – Dutch
- Yotaphone – Russian
- BQ – Spanish
- Acer – Taiwanese
- Asus – Taiwanese
- HTC – Taiwanese
- Essential Products – American
- Cherry Mobile – Philippino
- DoCoMo – Japanese
- Panasonic Mobile – Japanese.
- Afrione – Nigerian
- Mara Phone – Rwandan
These are the 20 best non-Chinese smartphone brands in the world today, for your information. Like I said, there are over a hundred of them – some of which you have probably never heard of before. Because most of them are minority players, Chinese smartphones currently take up the largest chunk of the global smartphone market share. And they are likely to corner more of it in the coming years.
But I digress. Let’s return to the focus of this blog post – non Chinese smartphones. We will return to the subject of smartphones that are not made in China towards the end of this article.
A non-Chinese smartphone brand in the Future?
Here is the thing: there is a strong possibility that one day, if you do not want a Chinese smartphone, it would mean that you do not want a smartphone at all.
Once upon a time, Motorola was so big and successful in mobile that it was inconceivable to think then that it would be sold one day. Not just sold, but sold to a Chinese company. Yet, it happened.
Those of us who lived through Nokia’s hey days could have sworn that there was no way the company’s fortunes in mobile could change so drastically. But we saw it happen.
Samsung is currently struggling against the onslaught of Chinese smartphones – all droids – in the market. It does not look like they will win this battle. What is to stop an acquisition one day? Samsung Mobile as a subsidiary of say Huawei? Preposterous! But history tells us to not say never.
Or Apple in the hands of Xiaomi. Or Nokia in the hands of Transsion. *ducks and dodges stones and sticks* Calm down. None of these scenarios are impossible. If you have been around long enough in mobile, you are used to seeing it.
I watched as the great Ericsson merged with Sony to form Sony Ericsson. At the time, it was Ericsson that had the great smartphones and numbers. Sony was a small-time mobile manufacturer restricted mostly to the shores of Japan.
But after Sony Ericsson struggled for a while, guess who bought out who in the partnership? And so it was that the great Ericsson Mobile was swallowed up by Sony. It is sad that Sony is still struggling till today though.
Anyway, you get my point by now. China has a huge and growing army of droids that are taking over the world. At the present rate, one day, all smartphones in the world might be Chinese. Just one day. Nothing is ever too far-fetched.
By the way, I got a recommendation for my friend. I am not telling you what non-Chinese smartphone brand it is. I don’t kiss and tell. *wink*
You Have To Pay More For Smartphones That Are Not Made In China
Around the world, there is a huge interest in smartphones that are not made in China. A year ago, this was not the case. Yes; there was some interest in the subject, but it was nothing as hyped up as what we are seeing now in 2020.
Why is there a sudden increased interest in mobile phones, smartphones and tablets that are not made in China? We can start from the age-long suspicion with which Chinese products have been known for – the fear of espionage. In the last one year, this has become an even greater concern, for obvious reasons.
For starters, the United States government has been on a hard crusade against Chinese manufacturers, with Chinese conglomerate, Huawei, taking a huge brunt of the blow. The US placed a ban on Huawei networks equipment and also restricted the company from being able to do business with American companies.
Now, Huawei is as big as it gets. It is easilly the global champion of China. Huawei networks equipment is in use on every continent, including Europe. And Huawei smartphones were selling like hot cake everywhere too. As at 2019, Huawei Mobile was on track to overtaking Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.
The ban on Huawei has meant that its smartphones do not have access to Google’s Mobile Services and apps, and so are less desirable to most people who rely on Google services. That effectively put a clog in the wheel of Huawei’s plans to conquer the world.
Another factor that is fuelling the fresh interest in smartphones that are not made in China is the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The pandemic is reported to have started in China in late 2019, and there have been accusations that the Chinese government held back some critical information that would have triggered a quicker global response to the virus.
As such, there is some rage against China everywhere you turn and some mobile users are hunting for ways to boycott made-in-China products. Since most of the world’s smartphones are now made in China, that is a tough act to pull off.
The Major Attraction For Made-in-China Smartphones
Price-to-value ratio. That is it in one phrase. In plain English, made-in-China smartphones are cheaper or more affordable than the competition. Why is this so? Economies of scale. China has a huge population, huge landmass, and a huge mass of skilled hands for product manufacturing. This combination of factors is why most brands in the world today have a factories located in China. This includes fashion brands, electronics brands, food, pharmaceuticals, phones, cars, and more.
If it can be made, it is mostly being produced in China. Some manufacturers are trying to change that now, of course. But we will see how it goes.
Some Smartphones That Are Not Made In China
Sony Xperia 1 II, for example is not made in China. It is manufactured in neighbouring Japan. Japan does not have the economies of scale for manufacturing that China has. As such, it is only natural that Sony Xperia smartphones cost more than their equivalent Huawei or Xiaomi phones. If you have been wondering why Sony phones have cost more than others, you have a clearer picture now. Of course, because Sony Mobile itself is a small company on the global scene, that further makes it difficult to match the prices of competing products from China.
Most Samsung phones are produced in Korea, so they belong in the class of mobile devices that are not made in China. Do you understand now why the average Samsung smartphone costs more than its counterparts from Xiaomi and others?
Most LG phones also cost more than the comparative competition from China. One of the reasons is that LG phones are not made in China. Most are produced in South Korea, the same country where Samsung phones are made.
Somebody is going to ask, Since Apple iPhones are made in China, why do they cost so much? Apple is a different player by itself. iPhones are deliberately expensive by Apple’s choice. That is a different topic from this.
The summary is that smartphones that are not made in China cost more to produce than their competition from the world’s most populous country. If you are serious about buying a mobile device that is manufactured elsewhere, you have to be ready to pay more for the same set of features and specs.