Kenya: Sharp unveils Sh1m TV set

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Kenya has become a launching pad for smart television sets now targeting the growing middle class within the East African market.

Technology firms companies are citing improved information technology (IT) in Kenya and a mature economy within the region as the driving force towards the new development promising to redefine living rooms and the entire entertainment industry. Within a span of five months, key manufacturers such as Samsung and Sharp have used Kenya to introduce smart TV sets costing as much as between Sh400,000 to Sh1 million (USD 11 530 in Nov. 2012) for the growing middle class now looking for enhanced features.

The high pricing for the new generation TVs is said to be because of enhanced features which allow consumers for instance to extend the normal life of the sets.  The sets are built to allow consumers enjoy new experiences, as their TV is ‚"reborn" each year with the latest smart technology, simply by installing kits.

Sharp which had slowed down in Kenya in past few years returned last week with the launch of a Sh1 million 80-inch television set which promises enhanced picture quality, impressive functionality and energy-efficiency.

The company is projecting to grow its market share to 20 per cent by 2014 from the current 5 per cent, banking on the growing middle class and upmarket consumers."Kenya is the first market in Africa to have the 80-inch TV, making the country a focal point in its drive into the larger East African market."Kenya is our gateway to East of Africa and we are very optimistic with our prospects here," said Sharp General Manager for Middle East FZE Tagami Yasuharu. Yasuharu said Sharp has dedicated its latest offerings to the modern family and its high-end urban needs to mark 100 years in business, which was celebrated in September. ‚"Our new series fulfils the demand for bigger screens, while maintaining affordable prices and energy-efficiency‚", said Yasuharu.  He said Sharp's large TV products will enhance home entertainment experience with the optimisation provided by smart TV features.

In an interview with Tech.Insight, Samsung's Electronic general manager noted that the country leads in the evolution of technology and lifestyles and that luxury expenditure has been growing over the past few years, the position TV manufacturers are keen to ride on in improving their sales. He said that the firm is currently rolling out a series of Smart TVs and other premium home entertainment solutions to meet the lifestyle needs of consumers, a part of strategic effort to raise standards within the wider East African market. Other players such as LG, Sony and Toshiba are also keen on the development within the Kenyan market in improving their market share.