BEIJING - Sanjay Jha , chief executive officer of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc, said he anticipates a further improvement in the company's business in China, and predicted that more than 50 percent of the country's mobile subscribers will be using Motorola smartphones within the next two to four years.
Jha, who attended the Beijing launch ceremony of a new mobile phone model in conjunction with China Mobile Ltd on Wednesday, said Motorola Mobility sold around 2.2 million smartphones in China last year.
The company is likely to improve on that performance this year as it had sold more than one million of the devices to the Chinese market by the end of the first quarter.
China is Motorola Mobility's second-largest smartphone market, second only to the United States.
"Since taking over my position in 2008, I have focused on the United States, China and Latin America as the three core markets," Jha said at a news briefing.
He added that there are tremendous growth possibilities in China, as the country has more than 900 million mobile phone users. However, the third-generation (3G) mobile network is only used by between 15 percent to 17 percent of callers.
Smartphones account for about 20 percent of all mobile phones sold in China, while the figure in the United States is likely to reach about 50 percent this year, said Jha.
As the 3G network is rolled out and the range of downloadable products increased, the penetration rates for both 3G and smartphones will rise in China, he added.
In the process of transferring from the 2G network to the 3G network, people are likely to buy smartphones rather than feature phones. Jha said he is "very excited about what Motorola Mobility could do here in China".
"Given our focus on smartphones, I anticipate an improvement in Motorola Mobility's position in China," he said. He added that he believes that more than half of all Chinese mobile users are likely to own smartphone by 2013.
"Motorola Mobility employs almost 1,600 engineers in China and works with all three Chinese carriers across all 3G telecommunication technologies.
The company introduced the world's first dual-core 4-inch smartphone MT870 for China Mobile's 3G network on Wednesday, and has cooperated with the carrier to introduce the first co-branded Android-based application store on the handset.
China Mobile is currently promoting its 4G TD-LTE technology, and Jha said Motorola Mobility is quite willing and able to participate in 4G technology with China Mobile, and the company is already an official participant in the ongoing 4G trials.
Jha reiterated Motorola's complete commitment to the Android operating system, but said he is also watching the Windows Mobile Phone 7 platform, which was recently adopted by Nokia Corp.
"I don't think we will participate with Windows Mobile 7 at the beginning. We will keep a very close watch and determine our strategy afterwards," Jha said.
Motorola Mobility launched 20 new smartphone models in 2010, but has said that figure will fall this year.
Global mobile phone shipments reached 427.8 million in the first quarter, rising 19 percent over the same period last year, according to the research firm Gartner Inc.