Apr 12, 2016

Can MyPhone Dominate the Philippine Smartphone Market?

Although MyPhone had a weak 2015, they are back in full force this 2016 with the My series of phones. Will it be enough to dominate the local smartphone market?

Everyone uses smartphones these days, and the ones who follow the cutting edge usually have something from USA, China or Korea. But outside of the global brands like Apple, Huawei and Samsung are the local brands that you may have overlooked, but which might actually be worthy of your attention.

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MyPhone is one such brand. MyPhone is produced by the company Solid Group Corp., which sold more than four million phones in 2015. Kevin L. Tan, Solid Group's vice president, says that the increasing demand for smartphone and feature phones in the Philippines has fueled their growth over the past few years. While there's a lot of competition in the mobile space, MyPhone has a surprising split in its product mix: only about 50% of their sales are smartphones, the rest are feature phones. The Philippines as a country has not yet fully embraced the smartphone revolution, and quite a few people are still getting by on basic call and text functionality with minimal pre-paid loads.

MyPhone's emphasis on quality affordable phones and its knowledge of the workings of the Filipino market have really paid off.

For instance, MyPhone was the first brand to introduce dual active SIM phones back in 2007. Filipinos are known for keeping two or even more phones on hand, one for Smart and one for Globe. It's unintuitive but it's a way of saving on costs, as cross-network texts and calls are more expensive. In offering dual SIM capability, they were able to capitalize on the market that wanted to reduce the clutter and keep both networks on one phone.

"We are keeping in touch with, which was ruled by international companies before. We believe that there is a soft spot for affordable mobile phones and we are able to bring the prices down to common Filipinos," Tan said.

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MyPhone also has a celebrity endorser in Daniel Padilla, of Kathniel fame. Filipinos react very positively to celebrity endorsers, and MyPhone knows this fact very well. MyPhone's 2015 flagship, the MyPhone Infinity 2, was an affordable phone at 12,800php but it packed enough oomph to compete with Asus' Zenfone 2. It has a 1.5Ghz MediaTek octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch AMOLED display at 720p resolution, 16GB of internal storage and microSD expansion, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel selfie cam, and the all-important dual-SIM capability.

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Somehow this year, MyPhone managed to release a better phone than this at half the price. The My36, a budget phone at 6,999php which packs a 1.3Ghz MediaTek octa-core processor, a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 3Gb of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and microSD expansion, dual-SIM capability, a 13-megapixel rear cam and 5-megapixel front cam, and a free leather watch to boot. This is the kind of phone that made MyPhone such an amazing brand when it first came out. It's good to see MyPhone going back to form.

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While it's not likely that MyPhone will be able to compete at the premium phone level where phones cost upwards of $500, they could possibly take the sub-$200 especially if they can offer better value and connect with the Filipino market better than rivals like Cherry Mobile and foreign value brands like Xiaomi.