Behind the “difficult birth” of Meizu’s 5G mobile phone, Meizu is struggling to move forward

On May 8, Meizu’s first 5G mobile phone, Meizu 17, was released. Meizu 17 is Meizu’s first 5G mobile phone, and it is also a late 5G mobile phone. Meizu also said in its official Weibo announcement that “it is finally scheduled for May 8, thank you for waiting.” The price starts at 3699 yuan. Under the circumstance that the target market has been eroded, Meizu, whose “small but beautiful” has become a bottleneck, how can it continue to maintain its “charm”?


Meizu 5G mobile phone “difficult to give birth” behind

It has been nearly 10 months since the release date of Meizu 17 and Huawei’s first commercial 5G mobile phone, the Mate 20 X 5G (July 26, 2019). Some users left a message on the official WeChat account of Meizu Technology, saying: I didn’t expect to wait for Meizu 5G mobile phones in my lifetime. Some users also complained: Meizu’s release was delayed until it could no longer be delayed, and how many users were lost, every year.

User complaints are not without reason. At present, domestic mainstream mobile phone manufacturers have completed several iterations of 5G mobile phone products, and there are complex reasons behind the “difficult production” of Meizu’s 5G mobile phones and delays.

Sun Yanbiao, dean of the First Mobile Phone Industry Research Institute, said to Sino-Singapore Jingwei (WeChat: jwview): “Don’t look at other mobile phone manufacturers releasing 5G mobile phones easily. In the current situation, it is very difficult for Meizu to release 5G mobile phones.”

Back in October 2018, Qualcomm announced the list of OEM (generation production) manufacturers using the Snapdragon X50 modem in 2019 at the 4G/5G summit, including OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, ASUS, HTC, Sony and other mobile phone manufacturers Shang, Meizu is not on the list.

At that time, Huang Zhang, the founder of Meizu, responded: “The first wave of 5G is just a trial version, and we will definitely launch 5G mobile phones at the right stage.”

In the second half of 2019, 5G mobile phones ushered in a small climax. Samsung and domestic mainstream mobile phone manufacturers have all launched 5G mobile phones. On July 23, 2019, ZTE AXON 10 Pro 5G was launched as the first 5G mobile phone on sale. From July to October 2019, Huawei released a total of 5 5G mobile phones; Samsung released two 5G mobile phones in August and October respectively; then players such as vivo, Xiaomi, and OPPO also joined the 5G battle.

At present, the price of 5G mobile phones has broken down to 2,000 yuan. On December 10, 2019, the starting price of the Redmi K30 5G series is 1,999 yuan. The price war for 5G mobile phones is “mountain rain is coming”, and the “right stage” in the mouth of Huang Zhang, who has been waiting for users, has not yet come.

In fact, at the critical stage of mobile phone manufacturers formulating 5G strategies and preparing for the 5G battle, Meizu has experienced a series of turbulence such as high-level changes and sharp declines in sales.

In May 2017, Huang Zhang announced his return. At the same time, Meizu established three major business units, Meizu, Meilan, and Flyme. However, in the restructuring that year, Huang Zhang cut off the Meilan brand, and at the same time cut off the sales volume and revenue guarantee.

According to IDC data, Meizu became the mobile phone manufacturer with the largest year-on-year decline in the top ten domestic shipments in 2018, with a drop of 79%.

Meizu, whose sales have plummeted, has started layoffs. In 2018, Meizu launched a large-scale mid-year layoff, laying off 1,500 Meizu contracted employees, and all the more than 600 third-party Meizu service personnel were laid off, with a total number of more than 2,000.

In July 2019, Meizu Technology CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and Senior Vice President Li Nan announced his departure from Meizu. So far, Bai Yongxiang, co-founder of Meizu Technology, Li Nan, CMO and senior vice president of the company, and Yang Yan, vice president of R&D, have all withdrawn from the management of Meizu.

According to other media reports, former employees of Meizu revealed that at the peak in 2016, Meizu had 2,700 specialty stores. However, in 2019, due to the large-scale withdrawal of stores, there were only five or six Meizu mobile phone stores in a province.


“Small and beautiful” Meizu is difficult to keep a card table

In February 2009, the first Meizu mobile phone M8 went on sale, the sales reached 100,000 within two months, and the sales exceeded 500 million yuan within five months. As the first batch of mobile phone manufacturers in China, Meizu in the early years attracted many student parties and young office workers with its Flyme system and excellent design. Meizu has also become one of the few mobile phone manufacturers that do not rely on stacking hardware to make money.

At present, Meizu still adheres to the symmetrical full-screen design with upper and lower narrow sides on its flagship phone, which has also created Meizu’s “small and beautiful” product positioning. However, “small and beautiful” is both a feature and a bottleneck.

In recent years, Meizu has changed the style of “bombing” the market by releasing 14 mobile phones in 2016, and has transformed into products with different positioning under the same series. Almost all of these products use the same narrow front bezel and symmetrical full-screen design, which also makes Meizu stand out in the highly homogenized mobile phone market and impress users.

However, the current competition among mobile phone manufacturers has changed. Mobile phone manufacturers pay more attention to breaking through technical shortcomings and work hard on hardware.

For example, OPPO is keenly aware that the power consumption of mobile phones has greatly increased, and battery life has become a pain point for many mobile phone users. It is the first to launch VOOC flash charging technology. In 2015, the sales volume of mobile phones equipped with VOOC flash charging technology exceeded 10 million units. Moreover, this technology has 18 core patents, which have built high technical barriers.

Huawei has also applied its technology accumulation in the communication industry to mobile terminal products, which also makes Huawei’s competitive advantage obvious. Huawei’s mobile phone’s signal advantage and Huawei’s mobile phone’s independent chip technology, the Kirin chip, protects itself from the threat of Qualcomm’s chip technology. In addition, Huawei’s shooting technology has achieved great breakthroughs in recent years, establishing a market reputation advantage.

The first-tier manufacturers have advantages in technology and scale, and the product hardware they produce constantly crushes Meizu mobile phones. In a sea of ​​red, Meizu still sticks to the custom screen, and its products in recent years seem to be quite satisfactory.

On Meizu’s official website, mobile phones released in 2018, such as Meizu S6, Meizu 16th, and Meizu E3, are still on sale. These phones have been released nearly 2 years ago, and the configuration and design are not the same as those released by major mobile phone brands at the same time. For example, the Meizu 16X is equipped with the Snapdragon 710 processor, and the front is the classic design of the Meizu 16 series, but the battery capacity is small. In the case of the rapid development of smartphone hardware, the Meizu after the “feelings” label, the hardware configuration makes many consumers daunted.

Looking back at the mobile phone market, the lessons of “small and beautiful” seem to imply that Meizu’s “small and beautiful” ceiling is not easy to break through.

Nubia was the first to focus on “shooting stars” and “borderless”, but in the era of full screen, it launched a front and back dual screen, and now it relies on game phones to expand sales; Meitu used to be a typical domestic mobile phone brand based on differentiation, and finally it is still Licensing the brand to Xiaomi and withdrawing from the mobile phone hardware market; 360 mobile phones gradually disappeared due to lack of its own characteristics; OnePlus also needs to borrow OPPO supply chain and R&D resources to upgrade the screen refresh rate to fight monsters, so that it can be as calm as it is today .

Sun Yanbiao said that in the past few years, Meizu’s channels, supply chain, and user stickiness are not superior to other mobile phone manufacturers. ambiguous.


Meizu 17 has no price advantage, the target market is being eroded

Although it is “the second slowest mobile phone to design and develop” in the history of Meizu, the price starting from 3699 yuan does not have an advantage. On March 24, the Redmi K30 Pro series was released. The Redmi K30 Pro standard version 6GB+128GB equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor is priced at 2,999 yuan, bringing the price of the Snapdragon 865 flagship to 2,000 yuan.

Only one month later, the price of the Snapdragon 865 flagship machine has ushered in a new low. On April 23, vivo sub-brand IQOO released the new product IQOO Neo3, the 6GB+128GB version is only 2698 yuan.

Based on cost considerations, it is also the need to attack the high-end. Although the current domestic manufacturers’ 5G flagships are generally priced high, in order to cater to the young market, a “5G fleet” covering the low-cost segment of 1,500-3,000 yuan has been gradually established. Many mobile phone brands have even launched seckill activities on their official websites, lowering the threshold for young people to start 5G.

The price of the Honor 30 series dropped to 2,999 yuan, the lowest price of the vivo S6 was 2,698 yuan, and the Xiaomi Mi 10 series was worth 2,099 yuan. Previously, the price of the Redmi K30 5G in many third-party channel promotions even dropped to 1,700 yuan.

Meizu’s adherence to the full-screen design cannot reduce costs. Meizu has repeatedly emphasized at the press conference that its 16th screen customization cost is 6 million US dollars, 16Xs is 3 million US dollars, and 16T is also 3 million US dollars, but the superposition of high customization costs is declining day by day. The shipment volume of Meizu has risen sharply.

Sun Yanbiao said that surrounded by mobile phone giants, Meizu’s 5G mobile phone has a very small first-mover advantage. Nowadays, the most important thing for Meizu is to find the target manufacturers through positioning and design a price that matches its own positioning. “In the past, Meizu was very popular among students. Now this market is being divided up by Redmi, OPPO, vivo and Honor. If Meizu is still positioned here, it is bound to join a brutal price war.”

Half a month ago, the price of the Snapdragon 865 flagship machine ushered in a new low, and the 6GB+128GB version of the IQOO Neo3 was only priced at 2,698 yuan. At that time, some analysts believed that this would put a lot of pricing pressure on the Meizu 17 to be released next, which is also equipped with the Snapdragon 865 processor.

In addition, Sun Yanbiao pointed out that the release of Meizu 17 5G mobile phone may be a good opportunity for Meizu to re-enter the battle and find a new positioning. Whether it can obtain a larger market share depends on Meizu’s positioning and price. Stay tuned!

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