Motorola Mobility to resume selling smartphones in China

Acquired by Lenovo in January this year, the smartphone maker says the Chinese market is too significant to be overlooked and it will tap its parent company's resources to grow its market share.

Motorola Mobility says it is looking to start selling smartphones again in China next year, tapping parent company Lenovo's resources to boost its market share.

It will also target other emerging mobile markets such as India and Brazil, the company said in a report by China Daily, which noted that the smartphone maker had exited the Chinese market more than a year ago. It has, however, retained its development and manufacturing team in the country.

Motorola Mobility was acquired by Lenovo in January this year for US$2.91 billion, with former owner Google retaining the "vast majority" of patents it acquired when it originally bought the smartphone maker in 2011. Under the agreement, Lenovo will license the patents from the U.S. search giant.

Motorola Mobility COO and President Rick Osterloh Lenovo's channel and supply chain resources will help boost its market share in the Chinese market. "China is the most important smartphone market in the world, so there is no way for Motorola to bypass it," Osterloh said, but gave no timeline for when it will start peddling smartphones in the market.

He said only that the first device will be ready "very soon" and the company aims to compete with local players Xiaomi and Huawei Technologies for market share.

To support its plans, Osterloh pointed to "moderate" recruitment plans in the country for several business divisions next year. He added that the company was still exploring its options in other emerging markets, including India and Brazil which already carry Lenovo-branded mobile devices.

Osterloh waved away suggestions of potential competition against Lenovo, noting that the market was large enough for both companies. Motorola Mobility is Brazil's second-largest smartphone vendor with 20 percent market share, while it is India's fourth-largest.

Motorola will face stiff competition in the Chinese market, which is already crowded with competitors struggling to retain market share and achieve sustainable growth amid falling price-points. Research firm Gartner earlier warned that China's smartphone market was reaching saturation point and handset manufacturers will find it increasingly tough to maintain steady growth.