The Legend Group, China's largest PC maker, officially jumped into the cell phone market this week with six phones at a variety of prices.
As reported earlier, the push into handsets is part of the company's plans to broaden its source of revenue beyond PCs. China is the largest cell phone market in the world, with more than 160 million users. Four million new customers come online monthly, according to local estimates. Short messaging use is surging as well.
The phones were developed out of a joint venture with Xiamen Overseas Electronics. Earlier in the week, Legend increased its ownership in the joint venture to 80.8 percent.
The company's phones are largely based on software from Microsoft and chips from Intel, company executives said recently. Intel in particular is placing substantial emphasis on Asia in its strategy to get its XScale and StrongARM chips incorporated into cell phones.
The market is still growing, and many analysts have said that Western brand-name companies will increasingly outsource the design and manufacture of their handsets to contract manufacturers there.
Five of the new phones support GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), while one supports CDMA (code division multiple access) networks. The Legend G808, which will be promoted the most of all the phones, costs approximately $435.
"Integration of data and voice will be the future development trend for mobile handsets," said Liu Zhijun, a Legend vice president.