The constantly shifting, increasingly competitive smartphone market is seeing a whole slew of ambitious, largely budget-focused China-based vendors rise through the global sales ranks, but for every Huawei, OPPO, Vivo or Xiaomi success story, a seasoned industry veteran needs to downsize its mobile operations or give up entirely.
After years of struggles, it’s reportedly time for Fujitsu to throw in the towel, following in the footsteps of fellow Japanese players Mitsubishi, Toshiba, NEC and Panasonic. All these companies relied heavily on domestic manufacturing and marketing of products that simply couldn’t keep up with the thriving regional popularity of iPhones over the past decade.
While those of you living in the Western Hemisphere may have never seen a Fujitsu smartphone in the wild, the multinational information technology equipment and services firm actually sold a cool 8 million of them during one especially lucrative fiscal year some time ago.
Since hitting the 2011 peak, the OEM’s numbers declined gradually, circling a modest projected 3 million units for the year ending March 2018. Still, several investment funds, including Japan’s own Polaris Capital Group and the British CVC Capital Partners, might enter a bidding war with Huawei, Lenovo and Foxconn for this long-agonizing brand.
Of course, right now, all five potential buyers are merely rumored to be looking for a deal of a few hundreds of millions of dollars, with Fujitsu aiming to retain a minority stake, as well as the name of the business.
It’s worth remembering that Foxconn or Hon Hai Precision industry, which is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, has recently acquired Sharp with the clear intention of gaining some smartphone relevance of its own. Meanwhile, Lenovo is still struggling to turn a profit on Moto-branded handsets, and Huawei feels too big already to benefit from such a low-key purchase. But who knows, maybe Fujitsu will survive in this dog-eat-dog world after all.