Chinese brands dominate African market for mobile phones: survey

30 November 2018


Transsion Holdings, based in China, continued to dominate Africa's mobile phone shipments in the third quarter of 2018.

Experts said its success is largely due to unique functions it provided, including facial recognition specifically for Africans, and the brand's diverse prices reflect local people's consumption habits.

The company led the continent's smartphone market with a share of 34.9 percent, followed by Samsung's 21.7 percent and Huawei's 10.2 percent,according to a report posted on the website of International Data Corp (IDC).

Transsion brands, including Tecno, Infinix and Itel, also led the feature phone segment during the quarter, with a combined share of 58.2 percent, followed by Nokia's 11.7 percent, the report said.

Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday that with Transsion's years of work in the African market, the phonemaker has developed great brand awareness among local people.

Transsion's global sales, almost entirely from the African market, hit 130 million in 2017, Zhu Zhaojiang, the founder and chairman of the company, told the Global Times in a previous interview.

The brand gained a further solid foothold in the continent with its localized functions such as face recognition specifically for dark-skinned people and diverse pricing to reflect local incomes and consumption habits, Wang said, adding that the African market still has strong growth potential in terms of smartphone demand.

IDC said that consumers in Africa are increasingly attracted by smartphone offerings from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei, which are actively targeting feature-oriented customers at lower prices.

Africa's overall mobile phone market will reach 58 million units in the fourth quarter, spurred by the festive season and online consumer events such as Black Friday, the IDC report said.

Africa is just part of these Chinese brands' ambition. Wang said that with the saturation and strong competition in the Chinese market, domestic phonemakers have been aggressively moving into growing markets such as Africa and India, and they have achieved huge success. Some have also established factories in such markets as a signal of their presence.

Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo have been increasing their shares in the Indian market in the past couple of years. After beating competitor South Korea's Samsung in the third quarter of 2017, Xiaomi remained the leader in the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2018, with a share of 29.7 percent, followed by Samsung's 23.9 percent, a separate IDC report showed.

Vivo had 12.6 percent, Oppo had 7.6 percent and Transsion had 5 percent, the report showed.

Transsion made inroads into India in 2017 by cooperating with local company Spice Mobile in a bid to gain a larger share in the fiercely competitive Indian mobile handset market.

Source: Global Times