Interview: Dickson Ireri On How TECNO Mobile Is Shaking Up The African Market

TECNO Mobile, part of Transsion holdings, is Africa’s number one mobile brand. It controls an average 25.3% market share in all the major markets in the sub-Saharan region. With sales in the African market reaching over 25 million devices in 2015, including 9 million smart phones, TECNO has created a disruption in the mobile market since its launch in 2006.

In an interview with Dickson Ireri, product manager and training Manager at TECNO Mobile we discuss the business and how Tecno Mobile intends to become mobile king in the continent.

Tecno Mobile’s handsets are ‘Made for Africans’. Kindly explain to us what that means and how has your experience been so far dealing with the African market?

Our devices have been tailor made to fit the lifestyles of the African people. Over the last decade, we have seen a major cultural shift in how we do business, how our markets have grown and how the rest of the world relates to us. Previously, the rest of the world had a very poor perception of us as a continent but we now have other countries scrambling to do business with us.

At Tecno Mobile, we realized this change in market pace and have aligned our products to fit these changes. We have made sure that we are in line and keeping up with world trends.

We continually make a conscious effort to adopt the latest technology to provide consumers with the highest quality mobile experience, something that is a top priority for the company.

What are some of the trends in the mobile market in Africa as of last year and early this year and how does TECNO Mobile intend to use these trends to capture its audience?

Affordability is a major key that’s factored into the minds and lives of our customers. We like looking for devices that hold all our solutions while still maintaining affordability.

Tecno Mobile has been able to capture some of these factors, for example with the phone being the first in Africa to produce dual SIM gadgets and also being among the top in producing top range feature phones for the average mwananchi.

Your company has the reputation of releasing newer and better versions of smartphone devices. Do you think the pace you’re taking with the releases is adequate enough for people to take in your gadgets?

Yes we do. What sets us apart is the fact that we give our customers variety. Take a look at the Boom Series for example, that was for a completely different audience as compared to the Phantom Series or the recently launched Camon CX.

We’re also keeping up with the pace at which the mobile industry is going and Kenyans also have the tendency to want and be seen with the latest gadget with the latest OS and the camera with the best megapixels. We are just making sure that our customers have the variety to choose what suites their lifestyles and the features that please them the most.

Tecno Camon CX

Kenyans already have a high regard for your products. Could we be expecting a higher roll out of Tecno to other parts of the continent (and maybe even the world?)

This year we’ll focus on expanding our Camera Series gadgets more since that’s what our customers really desire at the moment.

We’re also going to expand our markets not just in Africa but all over the globe. Currently, sales are skyrocketing in Dubai especially after the launch of the Phantom Series.

Since the launch of the new Camon CX devices, what had been the response from your customers?

Sales have been really good since the launch. The Camon Series has helped consumers achieve high-quality selfie technology at the touch of a button and we aim to continue improving our technology to meet the needs of our customers.

We hadn’t expected such a good response from the market especially with business being a bit slow for the mobile market this year – but this is expected to pick up in the next month or so.

However we’re still the number one gadget being sold in major outlets countrywide.

What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced?

The mobile industry is one the fastest moving in the world. A day in the mobile industry is like a week or month in other industries. We have to constantly launch new products and improve quality and service.

The competition has been immense so far especially since companies have seen the great potential of the African market and the increase in usage of smartphone devices in the continent

People want what’s there in the market so we have to keep up with whatever trends are there in the market.

Do you plan to expand in smaller towns and rural areas or do you just want to stick in bigger cities?

Yes, we are planning to expand. The users in urban and rural areas are different; their needs are different and their lifestyles differ but one thing that stays the same is that they look for devices that will make their lives easier and that’s what we do.

It’s also interesting to note that people in the rural areas are moving away from feature phones because they’ve seen the affordability of our devices.

We are planning to expand in order to reach more people who will not only get access to our top of the line devices but also get guaranteed customer care services whenever they need it.

The company is also playing a big role in the community. Kindly tell us more about that.

 The country has been going through a very difficult time with the drought thus far and as a company, we cannot stand and see our citizens suffer. Last week, we donated items worth Ksh2 million in a bid to aid residents in Samburu East to address the raging drought. In conjunction with Action Aid and the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), we donated food to about 425 households, water tanks and sanitary kits that included sanitary pads, soap, and lotion to women and young girls.

This has been made possible for every Kenyan who purchases the Tecno Camon CX or the CX Air. For every gadget purchased, one US dollar goes to Action Aid to support those affected by the drought.

 

What can we expect from TECNO Mobile in the coming years?

We stay true to our ‘Experience More’ corporate mantra both in innovation and customer service. TECNO successes in markets hinge largely on adopting consumer feedbacks into our system to deliver tailored experiences for consumers across markets and we will continue striving to maintain TECNO’s position as the most popular smartphone provider in the African market.

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