360 Mobile Smartphone Business Suspended
Last year, 360 Mobiles launched a number of new smartphones. They were cost-effective and were able to make tough competition to myriad top brands. But until today, we haven’t seen any new product. It’s rumored the mobile business of this company has been suspended. The former 360 mobile president Li Kaixin is currently leading a team, which should be secretly developing 360 smartwatches in Shenzhen.
“The current state of the smartphone business is waiting for opportunities. The team’s core players are still reserved. Some support IoT development, and some expand their hardware business.” One of the departments is still working on 360 Mobile phones. But most of the insiders working in IoT business are ‘waiting for the opportunity’. In other words, the earliest Internet smartphone brand will remain quiet for a while.
The company’s official channels on social platforms have not been updated for a long time. In November last year, it was reported that the 360 Mobile disbanded its smartphone R&D team in Xi’an, and employees were entitled to N+1 resignation compensation.
At that time, 360 Mobile gave a reply, saying that ‘this is only the adjustment of the workplace, not layoffs or dissolution. The company’s smartphone business will remain unchanged, and IoT will be taken into account in the future to further adapt to the development of the industry and enhance competitiveness.’
Then in February of this year, some sources claimed that 360 Mobile smartphones were out of stock in the self-operated mall. At present, only Tmall and Jingdong flagship stores have a few models for sale. For this, some users asked the chairman and CEO of 360 Mobile, Zhou Hongyi, and got the official reply like this:
‘The company’s new strategy is a big security strategy that will focus on the construction of 360 Mobile is essentially a security company that will focus more on this idea.”
Zhou Hongyi has given high expectations to 360 Mobile. He has frequently promoted 360 platforms, and originally planned to reach 10 million units of shipment target in the next few years, even independent IPOs. But after returning to the shares, the overall strategy of the 360 Group has been greatly adjusted. Its 2018 financial report shows that the 360 Group’s current strategy is to focus on the three major areas of national cybersecurity, urban and social security, and home and individual user security, creating a triple-safe system.
Among them, the family safety system is the IoT hardware business. ‘After the user’s home security, 360 launched a series of intelligent hardware products such as home firewall, smart camera, driving recorder, intelligent children’s watch, smart door lock, smart doorbell, and sweeping robot.’ This is the introduction of the 360 Group’s 2018 financial report on the security of home and personal users. There is no mention of smartphones at all.
‘There is no good opportunity for smartphones. Everyone has no idea in mind. The prospect of IoT is good, and the business is relatively simpler than the smartphone,’ said the 360 insiders. They believe that the smart hardware market is not like a smartphone, and it has not yet been fully finalized. ‘After the smartphone business is suspended, it is impossible to imagine that it depends on phone traffic like Huawei and Xiaomi. Therefore, it is still necessary to rely on the group strategy to locate.’
360 Mobile completed the integration of IoT services in March of this year. And the smartphone business has already reached the IoT business. At present, the president of 360 IoT business is Li Wenzhi. He has served as the president of Huawei’s overseas regional department and co-founder of Dmall.
After the suspension of the smartphone business, Li Kaixin, the president of 360 Mobile, is currently leading the team to secretly develop 360 smartwatches for the elderly in Shenzhen. This is another vertical segment of smartwatches that 360 is involved in after the children’s watch. This project started research before the Spring Festival this year.
At the 360 Children’s Watch New Product Launch Conference on April 18, Zhou Hongyi said that most smartwatches on the market were wrong. He believes that a smartwatch should be a product that is independent of the smartphone.
According to Canalys, in the first quarter of 2019, China’s smartphone market shrank by 3% year-on-year, with total shipments of 88 million units, the worst market performance in six years. The top four places are occupied by Huawei, OP, Xiaomi, and Apple. They took about 90% of the market.
The trend of domestic smartphone shipments to the head enterprises has become more and more obvious. And it is extremely difficult for small and medium-sized smartphone manufacturers to survive in the cracks. In such a market environment, 360 Mobile’s smartphone business suspension is quite logical.
Last year, there was news that 360 Mobile phones and Smartisan had negotiated a merger, but did not reach a deal. The current situation is more difficult for Smartisan rather than for 360 Mobile.