It's no secret that consumer electronics are one of the hottest growth areas in the world today. Do you have an idea for building a business around consumer electronics? If so, finding a supplier should be step one — and there's no better place to look for consumer electronics suppliers than China.
China has a long history as a global trading partner, dating back to the days of the Silk Road, a network of trade routes connecting Asia with the Western in ancient times. During the 1980s, China's role in world trade grew rapidly, and by 2010, China had become the world's number-one manufacturer. In 2014, China accounted for 22 percent of the world's manufacturing.
Consumer electronics are an important part of the rise of manufacturing in China. By 2013, China manufactured more than 90 percent of all the world's computers and more than 70 percent of all the world's cell phones.
There are several factors behind the growth of Chinese manufacturing, including a massive labor force and low wages that kept manufacturing affordable. Recently, however, wages in China have begun to rise. To remain competitive in the global consumer electronics market, China is making changes that will benefit not only its citizens, but also businesses worldwide seeking to source from China.
In 2015, China announced the "Made in China 2025 Plan," which is a 10-year plan that seeks to turn the country into a leader in technology and innovation. Information technology is the number-one area where China hopes to improve its manufacturing capabilities.
China is also working to improve its infrastructure, which has already resulted in faster shipping and transportation times. It's also tapped into its vast natural resources to use domestic components in its manufacturing: The percentage of imported components in China's exports has declined from 60 percent in the 1990s to about 35 percent today, according to the World Bank. Finally, China is automating manufacturing using industrial robots to cut costs and replace low-skilled human labor, freeing up employees for higher-skilled jobs.
In 2014, China accounted for nearly one-third of all new smartphone shipments. Of course, it's widely known that many of America's most popular smartphones, such as the iPhone, are primarily manufactured in China. Of the 12 top smartphone manufacturers in the world, nine are based in China. For example, ZTE has become the fourth-largest smartphone seller in the United States, selling more smartphones in the U.S. than either Sony or Nokia. Other big-name Chinese smartphone manufacturers include Xiaomi, Huawei and Meizu.
No longer simply manufacturing smartphones for U.S. companies based on those companies' intellectual property, Chinese manufacturers are increasingly developing their own consumer electronics innovations. At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Chinese companies received top awards for the 'Global Smart Connected Devices Top 10', 'Global Top 10 Smart Phones' and of 'Global Top 50 Consumer Electronic Brands.'
The country has become so dominant in consumer technology that it's now expanding from simply exporting its consumer electronics to marketing them domestically. In fact, by 2016, China is projected to be the number-one market for consumer electronics.
With so much expertise and experience in consumer electronics manufacturing, China is the natural place to turn if you're looking to source smartphones or other consumer electronics products.
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