Siemens mobile, the mobile communication group of Siemens AG, and China's leading mobile phone manufacturer, Ningbo Bird Co. Ltd. (Bird), will be joining forces in the future to develop and market mobile handsets. The two companies today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a long-term strategic partnership. Bird will procure the basic engineering components required for manufacturing mobile handsets, the so-called mobile handset platforms, from Siemens. Based on these platforms, Siemens and Bird will jointly develop mobile handsets that will be sold under the Bird brand. In addition, Bird will open its 30,000-shop nationwide dealer network in China for Siemens handsets.
Based on the design competencies of Bird and Siemens mobile's leading-edge mobile technology, Siemens mobile and Bird will jointly develop competitive mobile phones for domestic and international markets. To strengthen both companies' sales force, Bird will market, promote and sell Siemens mobile products in its 30,000 nationwide retail outlets supporting Siemens to increase its sales coverage in the Chinese market.
In the past, Siemens mobile and its products have predominantly been represented in the developed cities and mega cities in the coastal area of Eastern China. Now, mobile phones from Siemens will increase their sales-outlets coverage through the nationwide Bird network. The country's smaller cities with populations of more than one million inhabitants as well as its rural regions, which are posting the strongest mobile phone user growth in China, will play a major role in the future growth. The ability to swiftly expand selling operations nationwide in these regions represents a major step in tapping into this growth potential.
Leveraging on both companies' strengths, Siemens' leading-edge technology and quality mobile platform, Bird's best-in-class sales network and comprehensive understanding about local consumer preference, the cooperation will give both companies a competitive edge in both the Chinese domestic as well as in international markets. Taking advantage of its global market knowledge and presences, Siemens will support Bird to open overseas markets for its products.
"The partnership with Bird is part of our strategy for strengthening our position in China, the world's largest mobile phone market. We are now joining forces with Bird to enter the major growth market of smaller cities and counties. Siemens mobile will be contributing its acknowledged technology and Bird its local consumer knowledge as well as sales and marketing strength," said Rudi Lamprecht, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and President of Siemens mobile.
Xu Li Hua, Chairman and General Manager of Bird said, "The partnership is of considerable strategic importance for us. By pooling our resources in the area of technology and sales channels, our two companies are in an unrivalled position to tap into the vast potential of the mobile industry."
In the past, Bird has already been sourcing wireless modules from Siemens as the basic technology for its own mobile phones, and has also served as a contract manufacturer of Siemens mobile handsets.
With more than 280 million mobile subscribers, China is the world's largest and most hotly contested mobile communication market. It is estimated that there will be some 435 million mobile communication customers in China by the year 2008.