Non-Chinese Smartphones and American-made Phones In 2021

Posted by Mister Mobility

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 2021, what brand would you pick? What cell phones are not made in China? Are there any American-made cell phones? What cell phones are made in the USA? Mister Mobility answers these questions.

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.

Me: Shoot.

Friend: Please, recommend me a phone of between $240 and $250 and with 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 $320. I am tired of always charging.

Motorola Accompli 008: long before arrival of the iPhone and the droids

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.

Samsung Galaxy A21 and Samsung Galaxy A21s are very identical in size, with just minor differences in dimensions. Both smartphones are very similar in terms of design. Read our Samsung Galaxy A21 or Samsung Galaxy A21s comparison.

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 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 2021?

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?

2021 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, though it later re-opened a handful in 2020. Sony also closed its China factory months earlier. Some Apple iPhone models are also no longer made in China.

So, where are Samsung phones made now? We 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.

Librem, a US firm, makes its Librem 5 USA phone in the United States of America.

And there is ASUS, which has production facilities in Taiwan. Lastly, LG also makes its phones in South Korea.

Update: In order to lower production costs and stay competitive in the market, both Samsung and LG made moves to outsorce 20 to 30% of their smartphone production to Chinese ODMs. (source). As such, some LG and Samsung phones are now indeed manufactured, once again, in China.

Here is the full list of phones that are not being made in China right now:

4 best smartphones not made in China

  1. Samsung – South Korea. Samsung outsourced about 20% of its production to ODMs in China in 2020. Check out the latest Samsung phones.
  2. Sony – Japan. Check out the latest Sony Xperia phones.
  3. ASUS – Taiwan
  4. LG – India, Brazil. LG outsourced about 20%-30% of its production to ODMs in China in 2020.
  5. Librem 5 USA – United States of America

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.

What of American-made cell phones? Are there any cell phones made in USA in 2021?

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 2021, however, all manufacturing of American smartphone brands, except for one, happen outside of the United States. There are no American-made cell phones and smartphones any more. All Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones, for example, are manufactured in Asia.

November 2020 Update: Librem has announced a US version of their Librem 5 security-focused smartphone, called Librem 5 USA. It is made in the United States of America via a US-based supply chain for increased security. This is the only known smartphone that is manufactured in the USA in 2021.

Are any smartphones made in Europe?

Gigaset is a mobile phone brand that manufactures their devices in Germany.

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 is one of the best non-Chinese smartphone brands.
  1. Apple – American
  2. Samsung Mobile – South Korean
  3. Nokia Mobile – Finnish
  4. Google Pixel – American
  5. Sony Mobile – Japanese
  6. LG – South Korean
  7. BLU Products – American
  8. Lava – Indian
  9. Sharp – Japanese
  10. Fairphone – Dutch
  11. Philips Mobile – Dutch
  12. Yotaphone – Russian
  13. BQ – Spanish
  14. Acer – Taiwanese
  15. Asus – Taiwanese
  16. HTC – Taiwanese
  17. Essential Products – American
  18. Cherry Mobile – Philippino
  19. DoCoMo – Japanese
  20. Panasonic Mobile – Japanese.
  21. Afrione – Nigerian
  22. Mara Phone – Rwandan
  23. Librem – American

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.

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.

Sony Ericsson P800

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*

In Summary

  • Most cell phones and smartphones in the world today are made in China
  • A few phone brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, and ASUS have no manufacturing facilities in China. However, both Samsung and LG now outsource between 20 and 30% of their smartphone production to ODMs in China.
  • There are still about a hundred non-Chinese mobile phone brands in the world, but they are mostly small players, shipping low volumes and with limited market spread.
  • There are no more smartphones or other kinds of cell phones made in the USA as at September 2020. In November 2020, the Librem 5 USA smartphone was announced and is manufactured in the USA.

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34 comments

  1. The one who says he doesn’t want a Chinese brand phone is living in denial (or under illusion).

    I suggest he take a look around him when at home, and notice how practically every appliance in his house is Chinese_made. The non Chinese_made would be the exception.

    Something being designed elsewhere is NOT important.. where it was MADE is the koko .. so we can agree.. almost everything electrical / electronic. is Chinese brand..

  2. People have a bit of prejudice with Chinese products, but many are great! and dude, if you stop to think Chinese products (not just cell phones) are everywhere! It’s worse than cheap hahaha
    clique aqui

  3. Generally, I think we have three ‘concepts’ of Chinese phones: (a.) ‘Chinko’ which is essentially either an adulterated versions of mainstream or a very inferior, quality-wise, phones. (b.) Then the Chinese brands: Gionee, Xiaomi and the likes. The third are other brands that now assemble their products in China or with Chinese workforce. So most time when someone says ‘I don’t want Chinese phones’, it is reference to (a.). And many also confuses (b.) with (a.) concluding that since it is Chinese it must be inferior quality.

  4. Sony and Blu are two other non-Chinese phone brands as well. They may not be doing great or s well known as Samsung but they’re still out there making pretty decent products.

    Lava from India has just entered the market – remember a few years ago we were rather excited at their potential in the Nigerian market? They kind of left it a bit late.

    You can still get a UK Wileyfox Swift 2 at a knocked-down price. And there’s the Spanish BQ brand with their Aquaris range (remember the Ubuntu phone?) Thing is I suspect a lot of smaller phone brands will eventually be bought out or taken over by…Chinese brands.

  5. Bro you are spot on.
    You’ve just hit the nail on the head.
    Many people aren’t educated in this line, at best they misinterpret the whole.

  6. Do you know how the Chinese are treated by the government. They have death camps were they hang they them on the wall and torture them by pulling out their nails ect.

  7. It’s like, Ford Car with Peugeot engine (Ford’s TDCI Duratorque engines are Peugeot) but still we call it FORD / American Made. I think quistion should be rephrased here to get your answers.
    Which Mobile company have head office outside China?
    or precisely you should ask…
    Which famous mobile phone is Designed in USA? Bingo…. answer is “Apple Iphone”
    Which famous american phone manufactered in China? Answer again “Apple Iphone”

    More than 90 percentage of electronic manufacturers either use Chinese parts or Chinese cheap labour.
    Otherwise you may be paying 10000 dollers(bit exaggerated) for iphone or even that companny may not be be existed now due to marketing/price competition.

  8. For me, I believe SONY is better than 90% of most smartphone brands out there. The reason people talk down about Sony is because Sony don’t do copycat like the rest of other mobile phone brands does. And that is one thing I like more about Sony, be creative on your own way and standout among the rest. And Sony doesn’t lie about the number of its battery size and RAM size, the phone works so smoothly and the battery life is fantastic. Sony 3GB RAM phone is better than some of those phones with 4GB and 6GB.

  9. Its been a long time since I am not buying anything made in China. This would also include iPhone, since it uses Chinese labor. China is evil and a cancer for humanity.

  10. That why I’m looking at everything I buy ….no my China products in my house except the one that I have already bought..

  11. china has attacked the world with this virus i will no longer knowingly buy anything from china

  12. Have had iPhones for many years but think next one will be Sony. am appalled at reliance on China and feel that they are not to be trusted. very suspicious about origin of virus

  13. It is the need of hour that we all non Chinese people should stop buying any Chinese products. Whether the non Chinese is a good quality product or not, We will buy it. That is the oath we have to take to teach the Chinese. Let them become good people first. Let them drop their agenda of ruling the whole world. Our little sacrifice can do this job. Let us put hands together against criminal China.

  14. the leaders are communist and don’t want to change. I will boycott China because how
    they treat their own.

    Jeanne

  15. I have only one thing which is made in China and that is my toilet seat and wash basin. I deliberately bought these to show the real place of Chinese companies and products.

  16. Im proudly looking at all my options and doing my best about buying America 🇺🇸 made items. Even if that means down sizing my phone.
    I say no more China shit! Buy America!

  17. Funny to se how media is lieing about Iphone NOT BEEING MADE IN CHINA.
    BS!
    Than you google Iphone 12 where it is made – and get the truth!

  18. Look, it’s not really about quality of Chinese products, which has greatly improved. It’s about not “feeding the dragon”. If you buy Chinese products you’re supporting the Chinese industry and economy, which in turn leads to strenghtening Chinese domination and influence in the world, not to mention the disappearance of industrial workplaces in the rest of the world. That’s why whenever I have a valid choice, I choose non-Chinese products.

  19. I totally agree with you. If you disagree with the Chinese government you are put in a work camp were you are made to agree with the govenment. How they do it is horrible

    Jeanne

  20. Yes and the statement that Samsung phones are not made in China well I just purchased a samsung prepaid at&t galaxy AO1 and it is mfg in china. Does walmart have such a large inventory that 2019 products are still being sold.

  21. My LG Stylo 4 says right on the box that it is made in China. So im not sure how accurate this article is as it says LG does not make phones in China.

  22. The article was updated with this: “LG – India, Brazil. LG outsourced about 20%-30% of its production to ODMs in China in 2020.”

  23. Apple may be technically an American company and it’s main components put together here. Still, they traitors. They signed the letter for Trump to not contest the election on Nov. 5. They don’t care about justice or voter integrity…… Down with Apple.

  24. I just received a new OnePlus NORD N10 G5 and read the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy which one had to agree to in order to activate the phone.

    Not overly concerned that the device itself was manufactured in China as verified by this article, most cell phones are, but I was very concerned when I read that my personal information including my banking information would be collected by the Chinese Company servicing the cell phone.

    I could hardly believe that a Communist country would require me to allow them to obtain all my personal information and banking info to use a phone they had manufactured. I refused the offer and am sending it back.

  25. just because almost every thing is made in China doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight it. Those of you saying it is no big deal are the ones living in denial. If you don’t fight this (yes, that means paying more) you should start learning Mandarin, because China’s goal is to take us over. Wake up and open your wallet, what price can you put on freedom?

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