Motorola has recently announced to reenter China by launching Moto X, Moto G and Moto X Pro, three smartphone models, on Jan 26th, 2015, in Beijing. More than one year has passed since Motorola previously completely pulled out from the world's largest smartphone market in the second half of 2013.
Moto X and Moto Pro target the premium-tier segment, and Moto G, one of Motorola's best-selling models in 2014, eyes the mid-tier segment. Motorola will work closely with online retailers to sell the three phones, including Jingdong, T-Mall etc.
Motorola believe their key differentiators are full technology enablement (e.g. supporting China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for all 3G and 4G technologies), a "pure" Android UI, as well as customized service / software offerings. However, there are already many full-technology-enabled models from ZTE and other local vendors available in China at the moment. Those latter two models from Motorola will find it hard to stand out from rivals.
Reintroducing Motorola-branded phones to China will dilute Lenovo's shift up-tier and also its online intiatives. Lenovo has the Vibe sub-brand targeting premium-tier segments, and it has just set up an online sub-brand and division -- Magic Factory -- in H2 2014. For Lenovo and Motorola, it will be a challenge to balance and manage these multiple brands in such a crowded Chinese marketplace this year.
Moreover, it remains to be seen whether Chinese consumers still value the Motorola brand and whether they will embrace a "new" Motorola. For us, this looks like a risky move by a struggling Lenovo desperate to re-jazz its fading smartphone growth at home.
NI HAO, MOTO!