Hong Kong investment holding group, Rex Global Entertainment, now controls Russia’s Yota Devices, manufacturer of the YotaPhone, having acquired 64.9% of the company’s stock. After the acquisition, Yota Devices will still be headquartered in Moscow, Russia.
Russian state corporation Rostec holds 25.1% of Yota devices, leaving the company’s administration 10% of the company’s shares. Rex Global Entertainment purchased their stake from Yota Devices’ co-owners Sergei Adonyev and Albert Avdolyan with USD 100 million, which places the valuation of the company at approximately USD 154 million.
Rex Global Entertainment is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company’s business areas include gamma rays, entertainment, tourism, and gambling. It changed its name from China Gamma Group to Rex Global Entertainment in 2014 when it expanded from gamma rays into entertainment and cruise liners.
It’s reported that Rex Global Entertainment’s primary shareholders have established connections in China’s telecommunications business, which will contribute to YotaPhone’s future business development in China.
The company will inject USD 50 million into Yota Devices for “the launch of the YotaPhone 3 and its accompanied product line”. According to Engadget, Yota Devices will partner up with major Chinese smartphone manufacturer, ZTE, to launch the YotaPhone 3 for the first quarter 2016.
The YotaPhone 3 is expected to ship 100,000 units on its initial round. The partnership with ZTE will hopefully cut the YotaPhone 3’s price in China by 1/3 leaving the price at USD 420, according to Yota’s estimation. The current price of the China Unicom 4G YotaPhone 2 is RMB 4888 (USD 775). YotaPhone might have a chance given that the growth industry for the Chinese market is in the midrange and beyond, phones priced from 1200 yuan and above.
The YotaPhone used to have a serious problem with output volume. After a successful fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, it had to cancel its distribution plans for the U.S. because of significant delays in the production of its U.S. version. Supporters were offered two options: either an International version without U.S.-compatible LTE bands or a refund.
YotaPhone’s previous Chinese partner was Hangzhou Jielan Information Technology Co, a relatively unknown electronics manufacturer. It was responsible for the manufacture of YotaPhone’s previous two generations in China as well as their marketing and distribution.
The YotaPhone gained widespread publicity in China after it was given to Chinese president Xi Jinping by Russian president Vladimir Putin as a state gift. It also enjoys popularity in the tech community because of its dual-screens: a regular full-color LCD screen on the front for multipurpose viewing, and an E-ink screen on the flip side which turns the phone into a dedicated low-power reading device.
(Photo from YotaPhone)