The acquisition of small mobile phone factories is their best ending

"Finally… is it coming?"

I believe that the "kerosene" people who saw "Meizu" on the list recently on Weibo's hot search will be stunned.

As early as early January this year, 36 Kr received news that Geely's mobile phone company was in contact with Meizu to discuss acquisitions.

As soon as the news came out, there was an uproar in the mobile phone circle. Everyone didn't think that Meizu would be under the fence one day, but they didn't expect that it would be Geely who would hold Meizu's hand and move on.

In this regard, neither Geely nor Meizu has made a formal response. Regarding the media reports, Meizu officials only replied: "Thank you for your concern for Meizu."

Although both parties tacitly avoided the acquisition rumors, more details of the acquisition will continue to flow out in the next time.

In March, there were rumors that Geely and Meizu had reached the negotiating stage, and more recently, it was reported that the acquisition had reached the final stage, and Meizu, as a "small mobile phone factory", would probably become a "big car factory".

It's not without reason that everyone is so "concerned" about Meizu. Now 2022 is almost half over, and all major mobile phone manufacturers have released this year's flagship series of mobile phones, but the Meizu 19 series is late in the future, which is unavoidable. Will the series survive 2022?

Is Meizu going to change its taste? Before answering this question, let's put aside the honor and feelings of the past for a while. For the small mobile phone factories that are trying to survive in the cracks, being acquired may be the best destination.

The market no longer believes in "polishing"

Meizu is one of the brands that cannot be ignored when talking about the development of smartphones in China, at least in the Bronze Age of smartphones.

After Meizu made its first smartphone M8 in 2009, mobile phones replaced MP3 players and became the main business of the Zhuhai company. In the following 10 years, the shipments of Meizu mobile phones once exceeded 20 million. Taiwan, sales exceeded 20 billion yuan, once occupied the commanding heights of domestic mobile phones.

However, the good times did not last long, and Meizu's high sales volume by relying on the sea of ​​​​machine tactics could not be sustained. After the growth of the mobile phone market entered a plateau, Meizu's sales gradually declined.

According to the mobile phone sales monitoring data of CINNO Reaserch, Meizu accounted for 1.4% of the domestic market shipments in 2019, and sold a total of about 5.43 million mobile phones. When people lamented that Meizu still fell under the slaughter of big factories after all, they did not know that this was Meizu's "final glory".

Also from the domestic mobile phone sales data in 2021 according to the statistics of CINNO Research, Meizu has disappeared from the top ten list, ranking after Samsung, which accounted for 0.6% of shipments (about 1.88 million), and other small mobile phone manufacturers. Divide 1.9% of the market.

Compared with 5 years ago, Meizu's situation has plummeted. Once upon a time, Meizu was a literary and artistic son who held a "concert" once a month. Now, like Su Can, who was defeated as the champion of Wu, he has no place to show his skills.

The decline of Meizu is inseparable from its internal chaotic management and the frequent departure of executives, but the more important reason is that consumers have begun to forget Meizu, which is a fatal injury to Meizu.

Take the Meizu flagship mobile phone 18 Pro released last year as an example. This is a very balanced mobile phone in all aspects, and it is difficult to find faults in hardware and software.

However, under the siege of various bluffing words such as the GN2 ultra-large bottom from Xiaomi, vivo's 120W fast charge, Huawei's computational optics, and OPPO's full-link 10Bit, consumers can't seem to find a particularly prominent one on the 18 Pro. memory point.

▲ Meizu once promised zero advertising, zero push, and zero pre-installation of the "three zeros" guarantee, which has now been withdrawn

At present, the stimulation threshold of consumers has been collectively raised by the "involution marketing" of mobile phone manufacturers, but Meizu failed to bring more freshness after the small circle and mback. Naturally, there is no reason to choose Meizu mobile phones, resulting in This leads to the embarrassing situation that old users are constantly losing and new users are not interested.

Today, there are only those old "kerosene" who believe in the ultimate, believe in dreams, and believe in love, but Meizu believes in the ultimate, how far can Meizu go?

Meizu's "Extreme" is different from the mechanical extreme that pushes the machine to the limit in the conventional sense. It is a craftsman's pursuit that includes temperature. Huang Zhang holds the wooden board and polishes the MX3 over and over again, and finally makes the best. Grip feel; it is "Ru Kiln White" that has been lacquered 7 times, baked 7 times, and polished 5 times.

Ten years ago, the "extreme" Meizu could attract a group of maverick users, but today, ten years later, it is difficult for this ultimate to make a sound in the market, because what people need is no longer one. Taiwan is a toy that people can't stop rubbing, but a tool that can change life.

In order to meet these needs, manufacturers are no longer competing to "polish", but to see who can use the latest core hardware in the supply chain the fastest, and who can make the most algorithms and functions, and this is precisely the small-scale Meizu most lacking.

Due to their small size, small factories are often slower than Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo and other big factories to get new components for several months. The freshness of the CPU has passed, and small factories have the opportunity to whisper their new machines.

In terms of core technology, the disadvantage of small manufacturers has been further expanded. Big companies with deep pockets have invested tens of billions of dollars, teams of thousands of people have developed their own camera chips and algorithms, or they have spent years developing their own charging protocols to make a "difference point" that impresses consumers.

To achieve the pace of catching up with the big factories means investing a lot of time, manpower and capital investment, which makes any small factory look discouraged.

The mobile phone market has already passed the era of "earth workshops". Now everyone is fighting a war of attrition. Self-developed chip development and software systems require a lot of resources. It is difficult for small manufacturers like Meizu to use stories and stories as they did in the past. Feelings bypass the arms race and launch a surprise attack.

This is why, even though the Meizu 18 Pro still has a good feel and a literary and artistic temperament, sales have never been able to go up.

If the sales volume cannot continue to support development, and there is no strong financial support behind the company, then the small factories that "applaud and do not attract the audience" are likely to be eroded step by step in the end, becoming another proof of the Matthew effect.

Get ready, go again

Since the mobile phone market cannot open up, Meizu is also trying to open up new markets other than mobile phones to find new living space.

In 2020, Meizu established a sub-brand Lipro to enter the smart home market. A year later, Meizu established the cool brand PANDAER, focusing on the business of digital accessories and life peripheral products.

It is not difficult to see from the spring new product viewing event that Meizu held for Lipro and PANDAER in April this year, Meizu's market focus has begun to change, and mobile phones are no longer the only pillar of Meizu, but let people buy its home products, digital peripherals. 's introduction.

Since PANDAER released a series of iPhone accessories, some Meizu users also mocked themselves that Meizu is to be "the best Apple accessories manufacturer".

After all, it is difficult for the accessories business to support the main business of mobile phones. Hammer Technology, which was jokingly called the "best Apple accessories manufacturer", has now been acquired by ByteDance and has never been involved in the mobile phone business.

Therefore, it is not a bad thing for Meizu to be spotted by Geely, who also wants to make mobile phones. In September 2021, Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Holding Group, founded Xingji Times, spending more than 10 billion yuan to enter the high-end mobile phone market.

It is not less difficult for traditional car companies to build high-end mobile phones than for mobile phone companies to build cars. If it is said that the competition in building automobiles is about "hard tricks" such as industrial design and supply chain management, then the competition for building high-end mobile phones is the combination of software and hardware functions. Brand marketing and other "smartness".

For Geely, who has no experience in machine building, acquiring a mature and complete mobile phone team is indeed a shortcut to accelerate the achievement of the goal.

Geely, eager to build a "mobile phone-car ecosystem", and Meizu, whose product R&D is getting weaker and weaker, are going to get together. It's like Tang Sanzang, who went to the West to learn Buddhist scriptures, met Sun Wukong under Wuzhi Mountain. They met each other at just the right time.

But whether this pair of "master and apprentice" who have not yet achieved a foregone conclusion depends on whether they can experience the eighty-one difficulties in the mobile phone market. You must know that there are already many "blackberry", Nokia and other predecessors on this road of learning. corpse".

An indisputable fact is that the pie in the mobile phone market is shrinking.

Data released by the Institute of Communications shows that mobile phone manufacturers have not encountered the peak sales season after the Spring Festival in previous years this year. In February 2022, the total domestic mobile phone market shipments were 14.9 million units, down 31.7% year-on-year. Its total shipments were only 47.9 million units, down 22.6% year-on-year.

The decline in market demand will force the industry giants to invest more resources in development, creating new selling points to stimulate consumer purchases, and the mobile phone industry will also transform into a capital- and manpower-intensive industry.

Under such a changing environment, small manufacturers with weak capital can easily be caught in a dilemma—continuing to compete with big manufacturers for consumption, it is difficult to save themselves; withdrawing from the mobile phone market, which they depend on for a living, is difficult to make a living.

Once, the hammer, OnePlus, and Meizu were considered to be the three representatives of "small and beautiful". Now the three different choices have created different results: OnePlus returns to the Ouga Group, and the tired bird returns to the forest; the hammer takes off the craftsman's Clothes, the wild goose has gone without a trace; Meizu, who is still pursuing his dreams, is waiting to be fed.

In addition to the three, there are more Internet mobile phone brands such as Big Cola, Little Pepper, LeTV, 360 and other Internet mobile phone brands that have closed down, gone bankrupt or been forgotten before taking off.

When a small mobile phone factory is in a difficult situation, it is indeed a rare good ending to be pulled ashore by a strong hand, to obtain financial and human support, or to become a resource for others to realize their dreams.

Pursuit still stems from love, and ultimate still stems from dreams, but in this era when volume equals sales and sales equals everything, Meizu, or small mobile phone manufacturers, has been unable to realize their dreams on their own.

Stop talking nonsense.

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