There’s a real increase in budget smartphone demand in Japan, claims a recent DigiTimes report. Apparently, users in Japan are looking for inexpensive SIM-free smartphones, and ASUS seems to benefit a lot from this trend (becoming the third smartphone vendor in Japan, after Apple and Sony). The report claims that ASUS ZenFone sales have been booming recently in Japan as a direct effect of this market behavior, something other manufacturers (and competitors) have noticed and are preparing to adapt.
Taiwan ODMs (original design manufacturer – a company that designs and manufactures a product as ordered and specified by the client, which gets sold by said client in a rebranded state) are being courted by Japanese smartphone makers like Sony, Sharp, Fujitsu and Kyocera, in order to produce budget smartphones for the Japanese market. The DigiTimes report claims to cite Taiwanese ODMs as sources, and names a couple of these ODMs (not necessarily the sources themselves): Compal Electronics, Arima Communications, Foxconn Electronics, FIH Mobile, Qisda, Inventec, Pegatron and Wistron.