MULTIPLE SIM slots, weeks of battery standby time, front camera exposure calibrated to suit darker skin tones ... A Shenzhen mobile phone maker has become popular in Africa by making products tailored for the local market. Since entering Africa 10 years ago, Transsion, the Shenzhen phone maker, has acquired 38 percent of the African market, according to company co-founder Arif Chowdhury.
“A full understanding of the local market is the key to success,” Chowdhury said. “Together with our technicians, I have been to Africa for over 100 times to get to know the specific needs of local people.”
Dual SIM phones, a focus of the company, have gained a solid footing in Africa, since people often use several mobile phones or SIM cards due to the inadequate telecom network infrastructure, according to Chowdhury who is from Bangladesh.
“We also have triple and even four-card phones, because there are many phone operators in some countries, and it is expensive to dial between networks,” said Chowdhury.
In some parts of the continent, blackouts are a frequent occurrence as a result of poor power supply facilities. Another feature the phones produced by the Shenzhen company boast is a long battery standby time, with some being able to last nearly a month on a single charge.
The company has also launched a mobile phone with a front camera that can recognize faces according to an analysis of all their facial features, so that the African consumers can take better selfies.
“We also recognized that Africa is not a uniform market. For example, the demands in eastern and western Africa differ from each other, as do some areas south and north of the Sahara,” he said.
In an effort to offer good after-sales service, the company has set up over 1,000 service locations in Africa, both in big cities and small towns.
The company’s success in Africa has been largely based on cheap feature phones, and it will focus more on smartphones, considering the rising purchasing power of the market.
Currently the company has a presence in over 50 countries around the world, with more than 200 million phones sold in a decade.
Besides Africa, some Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Vietnam have also witnessed the expansion of the brand.
In India, the company launched a phone model with a fingerprint recognition button that is good at recognizing greasy fingers, considering the fact that Indians enjoy eating with their hands, said Chowdhury.
Vowing to become a country of innovators, China has been encouraging the development of technology and innovation-based enterprises. Made-in-China products are embracing a new brand image as being more creative and having higher added value.
Telecom giant Huawei, also headquartered in Shenzhen, said its smartphone shipments reached 153 million last year, grabbing 10 percent of global market share to become the third-largest international smartphone player.
Beijing-based mobile phone provider Xiaomi is now one of the largest unicorn companies in the world and aims to ship 100 million smartphones in 2018. (China Daily)