The company that makes some of the most desirable budget Android smartphones complete with features one will otherwise have had to pay top dollar to get on premium smartphones elsewhere is coming to Africa! Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, is expected to start operations in the African continent come September this year.
According to a report by Stuff‘s Toby Shapshak published on Forbes, Xiaomi, which has mostly relied on online flash sales instead of traditional sales channels in other parts of the world, will enlist the services of Mobile Africa Limited to distribute its devices across the over 50 African countries. It will pursue its tried and tested online sales model in at least in the 14 countries on the continent that Mobile Africa Limited will be setting up online stores.
Xiaomi’s meteoric rise to the top of the global smartphone sales lists (it was in the top 5 smartphone vendors in the concluded second quarter of 2015 according to the latest statistics from research firm Gartner accounting for 4.9% of the global smartphone market share) was propelled by its flashy and well-specced smartphones that were competitively priced. Those are what it is bringing to a continent that has been the fastest growing mobile market in the world for the last half decade. They include the low-cost Red Mi which will go for $160 in South Africa and the more mid-range Mi 4 which will retail at double the price of the Red Mi ($320).
Google’s budget quality smartphone effort, the Android One program, just debuted in 6 African countries a few days ago and news of the entry of the world’s fastest growing smartphone company only serves to highlight the big struggle to tap into the huge African smartphone market that has largely been unexplored thanks to challenges like network connectivity and the prohibitively high cost of smartphones and data. This underlying potential has seen various brands set up shop in order to get a slice of the pie.
Obi Mobiles, a nascent smartphone brand fronted by former Apple CEO John Sculley is one of those that are keen on taking on established players like Samsung, Huawei and Tecno on the African continent. Obi Mobiles is joined in this by yet another smartphone maker from China, Oppo, which just started selling its devices in Kenya the other day. The entry of Xiaomi which has a reputation of upsetting the incumbents everywhere it goes is expected to present a fresh challenge to everyone and increase competition. Ultimately, the winner is the customer and we couldn’t be any happier.