Proviewshenzen

A little over a year ago, 38-year-old entrepreneur Liang Liwan wasn’t making smartphones at all. This year, he expects to build 10 million of them.

Liang’s company, Xunrui Communications, buys smartphone components and then feeds them to several small factories around Shenzhen, in southern China. There, deft-fingered workers assemble the parts into basic smartphones that retail for as little as $65.

Manufacturers built about 700 million smartphones last year. But the market has taken on a barbell shape. On one side are familiar names like Apple and Samsung, selling pricey phones for $300 to $600; on the other, several hundred lesser-known Chinese brands supplied by a thousand or more small factories MORE