An official account on was spotted this week on China’s Weibo social media site—the country’s equivalent of Twitter—that featured the soft drink’s logo alongside the words “Pepsi Phone”.
According to a PepsiCo spokeswoman, the company has entered into a licensing agreement with an unnamed partner to market a new line of branded phones and accessories in China this year. However, she stressed that the drinks manufacturer would not be making the handsets.
"Available in China only, this effort is similar to recent globally licensed Pepsi products which include apparel and accessories," Aurora Gonzalez said.
“Pepsi has always moved at the speed of culture, and today technology is a key cultural pillar at the heart of consumer interaction.
“Pepsi has no plans to get into the mobile phone manufacturing business, but we are committed to engaging with consumers in innovative ways to grow our brand. We’ll share more news as it becomes available."
Various media are reporting that the phone will use the Android platform and carry a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, 1.7GHz processor and 16GB of storage. The model is known as the Pepsi P1 and is expected to cost in the region of US$200 on the Chinese market. An image (right) was later posted on Weibo.
Speaking to The Washington Post, smartphone analyst Tuong Nguyen said the phone would be a difficult sell for the drinks company, even if its name was well known.
"Because it's such a competitive market, it's hard to make money,” Nguyen said. "Regardless of the power of the Pepsi brand, it's going to be tough.”
Engadget called the move a “baffling corporate branding decision” and speculated if Coca-Cola would follow suit.
The phone is reportedly due for release on October 20.