Lenovo is not a popular name here in Africa, but the Chinese company is the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers, so they are no pushovers. Lenovo is also a smartphone manufacturer and offer a range of devices, including tablets. The good news is that Lenovo is smart enough to see that Africa is a strategic market at this time, and have announced that they will introduce their mobile products in Nigeria before the end of 2013.
Better still, Nigeria will be their first port of call. Yummy. Yummy. I am going to be spoilt for choice. Why is Lenovo choosing Nigeria over South Africa? The company says that the network operators are too powerful in South Africa (similar to the U.S.), and they prefer the open nature of Nigeria’s market where most devices are sold independent of operators.
Here are excerpts from the original story:
“Nigeria is coming towards the end of the year and then we will investigate the rest of Africa,” Braum said in an interview at the company’s offices in Johannesburg yesterday. “We’re trying to sell off the shelf. We’ve picked the open market.”
“If you look at South Africa, 99 percent of the business is done through the telcos and that’s a lot of work to do to launch in a telco-based economy,” he said. “Lead time is up to nine months to do all the planning, certification and you cannot align with one network.”
Although he declined to specify which models will be sold in Nigeria, he said the phones will probably have large screen sizes and a long battery life, possibly with the capability to charge from other phones via a USB connection.
Smart thinking by smart people there, if you ask me. Only an insane or blind mobile manufacturer will ignore the African market at this time. The opportunities are huge and the dynamism is strong. After their foray into Nigeria this year, Lenovo will also explore South Africa, and then Egypt.
This terrain keeps getting interesting. Tecno is rocking the boat badly here and here comes Lenovo. Nokia, BlackBerry and Samsung need to watch their backs here in Nigeria. Their lunch might just have shrank. Oh, yes; the Chinese are eating everyone’s lunch!