By firstname.lastname@example.org (InfoseekChina)
(WCT) After entering emerging markets such as India and Brazil, leading Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is gunning for the African market as early as September, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News.
Xiaomi reportedly will introduce the Xiaomi 2 and 4 smartphones to African counties, priced at US$160 and US$320, respectively.
Xiaomi first tested the waters outside mainland China by releasing its smartphones in Taiwan and Hong Kong, followed by Singapore in 2014. CEO Lei Jun told reporters last year that Xiaomi would enter 10 countries in Asia, Europe and America, including Malaysia, Russia, Turkey and Brazil.
African markets were not mentioned at the time. But the continent is revealing its potential for fast growth in the smartphone market. According to the GSM Association, Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the fastest growth over the past five years, with 329 million independent smartphone users and a penetration rate of 38% as of June 2014.
According to market researcher IDC, in the first quarter total mobile phone sales in the whole of Africa rose 66% from the same period a year earlier to 36 million units. Smartphone sales rose 47%.
IDC said the combined smartphones sales for the Middle East and Africa are expected to reach 155 million units this year.
Xiaomi has reportedly chosen Mobile in Africa as its sales agent in Sub-Saharan Africa. The firm’s founder, RJ van Spaandonk, was former executive director of Core Group, Apple’s sales agent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mobile in Africa has set up network shops in 14 African nations. In South Africa and Kenya, smartphones account for over 50% of their mobile phone sales, with Nigeria at about 30%, Spaandonk said. The three countries combined are expected to see sales of about 20 million smartphones this year, he estimated.
Whether the rapid sales model of Xiaomi can work abroad remains to be seen, especially due to concerns over its patents, which have caused a problem in India.
As Xiaomi is still a comparatively young company, it still faces a host of patent infringement suits.
Xiaomi will apply for more than 2,000 patents in 2015, and by the end of 2015 will have more than 4,000 patents, Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin said late last year.
Source:: Xiaomi looking to start Africa sales in the autumn