The province represents up to 80 percent of China’s overall supply in the sector.
Home to more than 1,000 manufacturers of mobile phone cases, Guangdong is the largest hub for the line in China. This province in the country’s southernmost part accounts for over 80 percent of the total supplier base for this sector and contributes 70 to 80 percent to the aggregate output.
Makers in the area take advantage of its robust mobile phone and accessories segments, both of which are the biggest in the entire nation. The extensive industrial chain covering both categories equips case specialists with a rich network of partners providing raw materials and components, design services and even tooling work. In addition to the abundant source of inputs locally, enterprises can tap companies in nearby Hong Kong and Taiwan, broadening further their options particularly for imported requirement.
Guangdong’s mature design service sector helps case manufacturers remain abreast of the latest trends in styles, patterns and structures, and reflect such in their releases. Meanwhile, many makers, especially smaller players, benefit from easy access to factories able to handle subcontracting work for leather dyeing or splitting, or surface finish or decoration process.
All these support industries enable Guangdong mobile phone case suppliers to develop and launch models close to the release of a new phone. The typical two-week turnaround time can be reduced to just several days, allowing companies to ride the hype of a product rollout and thereby boost sales.
Manufacturers are also able to offer cases in a diverse range of materials and design, which broadens the price options for buyers. Many carry other accessories as well, including cables and chargers, providing clients with a one-stop-shop solution.
Further, compared with suppliers in other hubs such as Zhejiang province that concentrate more on the domestic market, makers in Guangdong emphasize overseas business. They therefore have a higher export ratio of about 70 percent, the bulk of which comprises OEM projects.
Cases in different materials, designs
Guangdong manufacturers provide an assortment of mobile phone cases in a diverse range of materials. These include PC, TPU, PVC, ABS, silica gel, genuine and synthetic leather, neoprene, fabric, wood and metal. Many companies also use hybrid inputs, for instance mixing PC with TPU, ABS or PET.
Models in PC, TPU, silicone and PU leather collectively dominate output, representing about 70 percent of total production. Besides the lower input cost, these materials exhibit strong plasticity and adapt easily to different colors, patterns and shapes. PC also remains a popular base material for enterprises exploring a combination of inputs.
In terms of design, clamshell, flip-top and notebook styles are very popular, particularly among cases for smartphones. Buyers will also find an array of items in pouch, sock, sleeve and armband configurations.
Makers offer cases for iPhone, Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Blackberry phones, and local brands such as Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE. Because of the hype surrounding the iPhone series and Samsung Galaxy SIII, most companies concentrate on these two smartphones.
Regardless of brand, suppliers follow the latest mobile phone models in developing corresponding cases to ensure not just fit but also compatibility in terms of overall look. Many are investing in new methods to achieve more and diverse effects. IMD and 3D printing are increasingly adopted.
For the entry-level segment, makers offer cases in PC, TPU, PVC or silica gel with a single color or simple print pattern. PU leather models with a flip-top or notebook design target the midrange and list from $1 to $4 per item. Plastic-based variants with complex pattern, printing or embossing fall into this category as well.
Cases in genuine leather, wood, aluminum or zinc alloy and those decorated with rhinestones belong to the high end. These go for $5 to $10 per piece.
Labor cost, price war major hurdles
The greater manpower spending in Guangdong, compounded by rising overall manufacturing outlay, is pushing up prices there. Quotes in the area are now higher than those in other hubs, in particular Zhejiang or Jiangsu province.
Locally, the growing range of products and increasing rate of homogeneity are fueling the price competition. The influx of more companies attracted by strong mobile phone sales and low technology threshold for case manufacturing is projected to exacerbate the situation and stoke the price war further. Some players anticipate margins for basic models to shrink in the months ahead.
To different themselves, several makers are investing in private molds and strengthening in-house design capability. Others work with third-party design houses to develop innovative styles.
In anticipation of escalating production spending, more companies are looking to increase efficiency and undertake cost-management programs.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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