It’s a sign of China’s hardware prowess that that not even a saturated market can deter PepsiCo from making an Android smartphone.

Before you get too excited, the U.S. beverage company will not be entering the manufacturing game for good. Currently they are just seeking out hardware partners for China-only promotional phone in line with other accessories they are releasing.

The phone will be dubbed the ‘Pepsi P1’, and will not be competing against high-end rivals in the China market specs-wise. It’s expected to retail at around 1300 RMB ($200 USD approx.) which puts it in the price category of several popular phones from Xiaomi, Meizu, Lenovo, Huawei and OnePlus, among others.

It will will feature a 5.5 -inch screen with 16GB of storage and a 1.7GHz processor.

Pepsi has joined hardware makers in the past to develop co-branded products, but the Pepsi P1 marks the first smartphone project. Last year, the U.S. beverage maker teamed up with B&O Play to develop headphones.

Cheap manufacturing and an abundance of viable hardware partners makes China an ideal market for launching a promotional phone, if not the only market. China-side brands including ZTE and Huawei have specialized in selling hardware to be used under alternate brands, including U.S. and other international carriers.

Branded phones have historically performed poorly in western markets, though a China-only project has better prospects. Consumption of low-end smartphones is higher and Chinese consumers replace their mobile devices every 18 months according to recent statistics.

Despite this, China’s smartphone market has slowed considerably this year, and large brands have felt the effects of a saturated market. Considering the Pepsi P1 will share a price bracket with several competitive options, the company may run into barriers in such a crowded market.

Image Credit: Mahathir Mohd Yasin/

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or

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