Shenzhen-based smartphone maker Gionee unveiled a new series of its flagship product on Monday.
Dubbed M2017, the 5.7-inch handset is equipped with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 processor, 6GB RAM and dual shooters.
Priced at 6,999 yuan (about ,000), the phone has two 3,500mAh batteries inside, giving the smartphone a total battery capacity of 7,000mAh.
A cowskin rear shell was also introduced.
No specific overseas release date has been set.
Industry observers said the device will also be on display during the annual Mobile World Congress held early February in Barcelona, Spain.The limited-edition Gionee M2017 has a crocodile skin back shell. (Liu Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn)
The company also launched a 16,999-yuan limited-edition phone that features a crocodile skin back shell and upgraded internal storage of 256 gigabytes.
In a similar branding move, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd unveiled a limited edition of its latest Mate 9 series in November. Priced at 8,999 yuan, the handset is co-designed by luxury-car maker Porsche AG.
According to Jin Di, research manager at IDC China, promoting brand awareness and achieving more brand premium are the underlying reasons for the launch of limited-edition phones.
Aside from marketing strategy, Jin said "more integrated solutions - combine customized hardware with software - are for vendors to achieve satisfactory user experience and secure a certain share of a fiercely competitive market."Gionee's M2017 on display at the product launch ceremony held on Dec 26, 2016 in Haikou, Hainan province. (Liu Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn)
Jin also said that online distribution will be continually implemented in the first-tier cities next year, while offline bricks and mortar sales will also witness a boom in the areas where the internet is not as common.
James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, was optimistic about the product's performance in China, where Gionee has established its brand as a good option for middle-aged business people in recent years.
"Privacy protection and acceptable battery life are two of the key selling points for Gionee to meet the demands of the target buyers," Yan said.
He reckoned that the monthly shipments of the M2017 were likely to reach the range of 20,000 to 30,000 units.The cowskin rear shell of Gionee's newly-launched M2017. (Liu Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn)
"By focusing on promoting micro-innovations that fulfill the requirements of its customers, the brand will also achieve positive feedback and recognition in the segment market," Yan added.
Gionee Communication Equipment president Liu Lirong, said the company has put in a hardware order with Samsung and was expecting to receive one million AMOLED displays from the manufacturer.
Eyes on India market
Counterpoint Research data shows that in the third quarter of 2016, when the global smartphone market grew a modest 5 percent, smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 23 percent. Almost one in three smartphones shipped to India in the quarter were Chinese brands.
"Although the sales volume may not be ranked at the top position, Gionee made satisfactory profits in the India market for selling mid and high-end handsets," Yan said.
According to industry consultants International Data Corporation, India's smartphone shipments clocked 32.3 million units in the third quarter of this year, a 17.5 percent increase on the previous quarter.
A report from Strategy Analytic said that Gionee was among the top smartphone brands in China and is ranked in the top 10 worldwide, with 30 million handsets sold last year.
The company said in September that it would pour 495 million yuan (.8 million) in to build factories in the world's second most populous country.
Smartphone plants, located in northern India, will go into operation in two years and their annual production capacity will reach 30 million units.