If you are looking for a smartphone factory, how would you like to search for it?
By factory, you might mean manufacturer, and you want to find the company who actually produce the smartphones, and you want to cut the middle men “trading companies” out of the way from the deal that you are going to have with the “factory”.
First of all, you need to know what role that you are playing in the smartphone business, in the smartphone business, I believe that there are many different roles.
1. Processor manufacturers. The popular processors manufacturers are mainly Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, nVIDIA, MTK and Spreadtrum, MTK is very popular in the smartphones that carry a Chinese brand or unknown brand, some companies like Xiaomi, Meizu, Oppo would also use MTK chipsets in their low end phones.
2. Solution companies. The solution companies usually give you BOM list and provide you technical support, usually they integrate the processors in the motherboard, and give you the solutions on how to build and assemble the phones, they also do some debugging on both software and hardware.
3. Industrial Design houses. This kind of companies focus on the housings of the cell phones and try to make it look better, usually they deal with the mold factories to tune the housings up. A good set of molds for a smart phone can be 20k to 40k USD, and it takes at least 2 months to produce and tune the molds, and it might waste 200 to 500 units of phones during the tuning stage (trial production)
4. Integrators. The integrators are someone who buy PCBA from solution companies, housings from Industrial design housings, as well as some other parts such as LCD/touchscreen, batteries, cameras, speakers, and ect. and outsource the assembly job to the factories.
5. Assembly houses. The assembly houses are usually considered factory, and you might think that they are the manufacturers. The assembly house are the facilities where a lot of different kinds of assembly jobs are done. There are usually a few production lines with labors who are arranged to put together all the parts of cell phones or any other electronics devices together, of course the Quality Control and Aging tests happen in the assembly houses, but they get instructions on how to do the testing from the guys who give them jobs. A standard size of an assembly house can put 3k to 10k units of cell phones, so they need to get jobs from a few big integrators so that they can keep the production running.
6. Trading companies and distributors. The integrators need to produce at least 3k units of phone at a time, and they need to reply on the trading companies and distributors to sell what they produce.
If you are going to build a cell phone on your brand, who are you going to contact first? Are all the paid gold members on Alibaba good to contact? What do you think they are when they need to pay so much money to Alibaba and hire people to answer people’s inquiries everyday, and they don’t even know you if you call them and mention your name, because they need to type your name and search to find out who you are, otherwise they can’t remember your name because they have too many inquiries to reply to.