This article was originally written and published in 2015. I have updated it to reflect a few different realities of the relationship between TECNO and Infinix in 2019.
It is common these days to hear people rant about how TECNO needs to try to recapture the low-end smartphone market that it has “lost to Infinix”. I still read a comment along that line on a post here at MobilityArena.com a few minutes ago. Speaking of TECNO, someone said, “right now what they need to do is to win back their mid range market share which Infinix has stolen from them… flagships wont help in addressing that….” Source
I think that such sentiments are the product of ignorance about what is really going on. I shall attempt to help break it down.
Understanding TECNO and Infinix
- Whether you buy a TECNO phone or an Infinix phone, your cash ends up in the same coffers. In other words, they are siblings. TECNO and Infinix have the same parent company.
- The strategy at work is that TECNO addresses the budget end of the smartphone market, while Infinix makes a pitch for the high end. The bottom end is handled by itel, another sister brand.
- TECNO and Infinix are not competitors. They are two sides of a coin targeting two different segments (though there is some overlapping).
This three-pronged approach is a sound strategy. Why stay in the comfort zone of the low end only? Why be satisfied with the crumbs from the bottom of the pyramid only? Why not thrive both at the bottom and at the top? So, if you are angry that TECNO is targeting the high end, go buy an Infinix at the lower end. In reality though, it is the other way round: Infinix targets a market that overlaps with TECNO, but it is essentially positioned above TECNO in terms of brand status.
The point is that your money still ends up in the same coffers anyway. See why blind anger is bad?
If you want high-end specs and features at fair prices, you should consider the new generation of Infinix smartphones.
Hopefully, we will see less of people moaning about how “TECNO is losing the market to Infinix”. That’s a lie. Actually, TECNO has a larger slice of the smartphone market than Infinix does, and the reason is clear enough: the mid-range market that TECNO addresses is where a lot of the action happens. That is middle class territory.
It is also important to note that itel, another sister company to TECNO and Infinix, has a strong foot in the market too, because the bottom of the pyramid is every wide. However, it often overlaps with the lower spectrum of TECNO’s market and as soon as they can, many itel users simply upgrade to a better smartphone. Usually, a TECNO phone is a logical upgrade for them.
It is interesting to see how Transsion Holdings, the parent company of TECNO and Infinix and itel, is keeping a strong hold on the smartphone market. If you need a cheap smartphone, there are itel phones for you. If you can afford a liitle bit more, TECNO phones are available. And if you want to buy an even more impressive smartphone in the mid-range market, then have a look at Infinix.
Transsion has created a funnel that moves consumers up from one brand of theirs to another as their purchasing power improves. All across Africa, we see the three musketeers dominating the smartphone market. 7 of the top 10 smart phone companies in Kenya are TECNO, Infinix, itel. In Nigeria, TECNO and Infinix are among the top 5 smartphone brands.
It is brilliant positioning. One cannot help but wonder if at some point in time, Transsion will not introduce a 4th brand to take care of those who want a premium smartphone – you know, something with all the bells and whistles of a proper premium phone but that costs a little less. This will be similar to what OnePlus did for years, and similar to what Xiaomi is still doing.
That might work in Asia, where there is a huge addressable market that can take up that class of devices. I am not so convinced that a premium brand from Transsion will sell enough models in Nigeria and other African countries under the present economic realities. Perhaps sometime in the future.
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