What exactly do you know about OPPO? Eeer other than the fact that it is a Chinese company whose products you’ve likely heard about in passing but have never been familiar with. The fact that OPPO’s brand presence in the Kenyan and East African market at large is unfelt at this moment as they are new entrants is the motivation behind what will likely be an aggressive push by the company this year.
OPPO started selling its smartphones in the Kenyan market in mid-April. In order to be able to reach all the corners of the East African nation and even expand to neighbouring countries like Uganda and Tanzania, it needs everyone to know what it is and what it stands for. To that end, the company held a media briefing in Nairobi early this morning to introduce its products in the Kenyan market officially and lay the record straight about its plans, strategy and long term focus on the Kenyan market.
OPPO recognizes the fact that if it is to succeed in the Kenyan market then it has to appeal to everyone and particularly the mid-range and high end smartphone shoppers who it hopes it will be able to attract with its smartphones. For that, it will need to provide assurance to such customers and the general public to leave behind the perception that most of the smartphones coming out of China are substandard.
OPPO is a global brand that has established itself in key markets. OPPO smartphones are available officially in 22 countries and in Africa it already has a presence in several countries in the North i.e. Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. Last year, the company managed to sell over 30 million smartphone units worldwide. It’s flagship smartphones have been trendsetters over the years. Like we’ve noted before, the OPPO N1 has the distinction of being the first smartphone in the world to feature a rotating camera. Three days ago, it announced its most recent smartphones, the Neo 5 and the Neo 5S. These new devices, like the Find 7 and Find 7a announced last year, won’t be making it to the Kenyan market. At least for now. That may change going forward. For now, OPPO is offering the N3 which has a camera that rotates back and forth for upto 206 degrees to snap selfies and normal shots, the entry level Neo 3 and the upper mid-range R5.
Even with such impressive credentials, the company recognizes the need to impress the Kenyan buyer. It is going all out to woo Kenyans to embrace the OPPO brand with a huge Ksh 1.1 billion budget. To get a better understanding of the exact needs of the Kenyan consumer, OPPO will be interacting with the customers and retailers directly. This effectively cuts out the middlemen and gives the company better knowledge of the customer. It is also working with Safaricom, Airtel and Orange on the carrier side of things and Rupu and Jumia Kenya on the online retail side. The company says that by the end of the year it will have employed at least a thousand people in Kenya. 90% of those will be locals.
To make sure buyers of its devices get value for their money, OPPO is also keen on the after-sales experience. All its devices will come with a 12+1 month warranty and will be delivering free services to customers like software upgrades and cleaning of devices.
Like I have already stated, OPPO views the Kenyan market in a certain way. First, it is the gateway to the larger East African market. OPPO plans to introduce its phones to other towns outside Nairobi like Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu. Secondly, the company has set itself some steep sales targets for this year. Buoyed by its huge budget, it expects to sell at least 150,000 units and net over 1,000 points of sales across the country.
Will that be possible? How they approach the market will definitely be what makes or breaks them. The Kenyan market is unique and dynamic. Considering OPPO’s key focus is on the high end and midrange smartphone bracket, it becomes even tougher. That’s where all the latest flagship devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony, Apple and Huawei are trading. OPPO’s efforts to create a vibrant local team is a good start. Getting Kenyans to like and embrace the brand is a different ball game.