Setting the facts straight – TECNO and Infinix are not competitors

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.

TECNO and Infinix
TECNO and Infinix

Understanding TECNO and Infinix

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

TECNO and Infinix

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.

transsion overtook samsung in africa 2017
The three-pronged approach helped Transsion overtake Samsung on the continent.

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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14 comments

  1. Good to know,though I actually find Infinix phones more appealing than Tecno’s,perhaps their more limited portfolio tends to focus attention on each and everyone of them while Tecno’s penchant for releasing a phone every other week tends to overwhelm the consumer and thus makes choice more difficult..

  2. Good to know,though I actually find Infinix phones more appealing than Tecno’s,perhaps their more limited portfolio tends to focus attention on each and everyone of them,while Tecno’s penchant for releasing a phone every other week tends to overwhelm the consumer and thus makes choice more difficult..

  3. So, if you are angry that TECNO is not targeting the high end, go buy an Infinix

    Erase the “NOT” up there.

    Meanwhile, I think the Infinix/Tecno dichotomy is a dumb move. If the two are truly the same (as opposed to just being under the same management), they should simply merge the two into TecFinix or something. Or, subsume one within the other. Reduced costs,all round.

    Who says a single brand cant have productions targeted at different segments simultaneously?

  4. Learning they’re from the same parent company is an eye opener and explains a lot (especially with regards to Android One), but I’m curious – how comes they ended up with Tecno AND Infinix?

    Like IBK said, it seems a better idea to merge the two than run two separate entities. I was about to say surely it would be more cost effective but then jobs would be at stake, and the dedication that one person will give to marketing and delivering for one group of devices will be doubled ….hmm, maybe it’s best they remain “as is” for now.

  5. Speaking as a marketer this is only a Technic to increase sales both at budget level and luxury level thereby imcfeasing the companies sales and another reason for their move is that at a point in time they realized people saw tecno phones as “china” phones when comparing to other androids i.e htc samsung(keep in mind Samsung was a complete china phone before the advent of android o.s) now making a phone called infinix will not only increase their sales but will make people not look at it as such a “chinko” phone and even then them raising the price of tecno phones gives a rebounding effect of making the tecno phone look more standard than the now known infinix thereby increasing their”goodwill” due to thier initial mistake of using a penetration policy.

  6. What do you call a manufacturer that produces four different models of phone with almost the same specs. You hear techno p5, m5, s5, l5, p5+ with the same thing. You can’t just differentiate which one is the boss.
    But see infinix, someone using infinix x510 already knows his ground when he sees another with x551 or x554.
    And the fact that most infinix phones can be upgraded while techno phones still lag behind is another pointer. (Only latest technology phones can be upgraded)

  7. personally, i just hate techno cz its techno. whether theyre one and the same it dont matter id rather have an infinix in my pocket rather than those damn tecno phones.
    then again am just saying. its my opinion you can as well have yours…..

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