Huawei Devices launched its first brand store in Nairobi, Kenya this morning. It is the first time that Huawei is launching a brand store where customers can go to interact and experience its various products including smartphones, tablets, wearables and accessories like covers, portable chargers, portable speakers among others.
Even though Huawei has been in the Kenyan market for a while now, it has relied on its retail partners like mobile network operator Safaricom for providing customer experience and support but with the company keen on building on the momentum it has gained in the Kenyan market where it has 10% share of the smartphone market, it is going all out to embrace the customer.
The brand store has a VIP Lounge where high value customers can relax as they wait to be attended to.
The opening of the brand store at the Garden City Mall in Nairobi which is expected to be followed by similar launches elsewhere in the city and also outside the city in the Rift Valley region among others is testament to the inroads the Huawei brand has made in the Kenyan market over the years not just in smartphone sales but in mobile phone sales as a whole.
Huawei Kenya CEO Dean Yu and the Chinese Embassy Consular take a selfie on the Huawei P8 smartphone shortly after officially opening the company’s first brand store in Nairobi
Huawei managed to sell 320,000 mobile phones last year (over 250,000 of which were just smartphones) and it has already sold over 360,000 units so far this year. The company plans to increase its share of the smartphone market from the 10% it has gained to at least 20% by the end of the first half of 2016. This will be achieved through improved relationships with retailers and distributors and better interactions with customers through the experience stores and efforts by partners like network operators according to Huawei Channel Manager Patrice Muchwe.
Huawei at the moment has devices targeted at all segments of the market right from entry level to premium/high-end. With 33% of global sales of its smartphones in the just ended third quarter being mid-range and high-end smartphones, Huawei’s local team led by CEO Dean Yu is keen to replicate the same by establishing itself as the go-to brand for premium devices while still not losing sight of the entry level segment which is still key in a market that is so price sensitive like Kenya’s.
Huawei’s latest smartphones in the Kenyan market include the Huawei Y5C, the Huawei P8Lite and the Huawei P8Max which are targeted at the low-end, mid-range and high-end customer respectively. The company had previously not committed to bringing the P8Lite and the P8Max, complements of its flagship P8 smartphone, to the African market but demand forced a rethink to its approach. The company is preparing to introduce its latest smartphone, the Huawei Mate S, into the Kenyan market by the end of November.
Rival Samsung Electronics has relied on its expansive 30 brand store network to push sales of its devices in Kenya. The company in early May launched its largest brand store in East Africa with a promise to set up more highlighting the competitive nature of the consumer electronics market and particularly mobile devices in Kenya.