Monday, October 18, 2010

Ever Heard of Hericsson Mobile, the Chinese Cellphone Manufacturer?

A Chinese company has brazenly copied the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson’s name and logo, but added an H to the name. Hericsson Mobile Technology says on its website that it “is one of the leading manufacturers of cellphone in Shenzhen, China…” and that it distributes its phones in North- and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. “This is not an Ericsson affiliated site,” says Kathy Egan, vice president, external communications at Ericsson North America after we shared the news about Hericsson.

“Hericsson” writes on its website that it “is specializing in designing and manufacturing of quad-band dual SIM dual standby TV mobile phones , also 3G, Smart Phones with WIFI and GPS, dual mode GSM/CDMA mobile phones and Windows Mobile 6.5, also with Google Android. Since established in 2005, we have been always devoting to keep pace with first-class technology and management of the world. Currently, we have several international advanced production lines.”

We called the company, but nobody picked up the phone. It says on its website that it has a “high-tech manufactur park base in LongGang district,We have up to 1,000 employees”, and that it has a R&D team of over 20 engineers. They claim that they “keep close cooperation with world famous telecom company and IC developing companies,RF and software for all our products are from Gualcomm, marvle, MTK,Infineon and Spreadtrum.” (It is hard to know if the referring to Qualcomm, or Gualcomm, which seems to be a software tool. Spredtrum Communications is a Shanghai based RF company.)

The Hericsson corporate culture is – according to the site – “engaged in more convenient for entertainment, information, and communication, we provide products for mobile handset integrated with fashion, simplicity, and function.”

Quality is of course a core value and priority: ”Any idea or action that risks delivery of quality is totally wrong. High quality rises from continuing creative management and technology innovation. Customers will benefit from best quality with lowest cost only if we work hard to cut down cost or improve quality constantly.”

What is Hericsson? We don't know yet, but it is quite possible that it is an Chinese startup that "borrowed" Ericsson's name and logo as they are well-known in China. Most Chinese speak little or no English and are not all that familiar with the latin alphabet, why slight modifications can dupe consumers, making them think that they are buying an Ericsson phone, when in fact they are buying a Hericsson phone.

“Our Corporate Legal and Brand management departments are presently looking into the situation to decide upon the right action,” says Ericsson's Kathy Egan. It's going to be interesting to see what happens now that Ericsson's lawyers take a closer look at Hericsson.
Hans Sandberg

PS. The plot thickens! It seems that Hericsson has been around for a long time. I found a press release from Unitech Industries, Inc., dated Scottsdale, Arizona, March 27, 1995 (!!!) and distributed by PRNewswire.
"Unitech Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq-NNM: UTII) said today that it has completed the first phase of its acquisition of Solidex and its sister company Hericson International Ltd. with the purchase of the net assets of Solidex for $3.4 million in cash. Solidex is a California-based distribution company that markets video, wireless communication and computer accessories.

According to John Londelius, president and chief executive officer, Unitech expects later this month to complete the acquisition of Hericson International, Ltd., a Hong Kong-based engineering and manufacturing company of video cellular and computer accessories. The company believes that based on 1994 revenues the Solidex acquisition could add approximately $17 million to Unitech's revenues during the next 12 months, with an additional $8 million in revenue added when the Hericson purchase is completed."
Is this the same Hericsson as the Shenzhen company?

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