Two Nigerian women take a selfie with a Tecno smartphone made by Transsion Holdings Ltd, a Shenzhen-based phonemaker. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Shenzhen firm's affordable devices prove popular, dominate market
Transsion Holdings Ltd, a Shenzhen-based smartphone maker few Chinese have heard of, is securing the jewel in the crown of the mobile world-the African continent, one of the most promising mobile arenas in the world.
Transsion has grabbed 40 percent of the African market, outcompeting much bigger opponents like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
Tecno and itel, two brands owned by Transsion, took the third and first spot in the African mobile market in the third quarter of 2016, respectively, data from technology consultancy Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed.
In the first half of 2016, Transsion shipped 32.9 million handsets to overseas markets. In comparison, the number for Huawei, the world's third-largest smartphone maker, was 25.4 million units.
Transsion was the first Chinese smartphone vendor to explore the African market. It also built the world's first smartphone plant in the continent. Its success highlights how little-known Chinese firms are conquering overseas markets by leveraging China's sophisticated manufacturing capacity and their experience to fight for survival in the domestic market.
Stephen Ha, general manager of Tecno, said: "We started to zero-in on the African market as early as 2008 after the competition intensified in China."
That was a time when the continent was almost forgotten by most big international brands. The lack of competitive local players also leaves a gap in the market for Transsion to fill.
The company quickly gained popularity through its dual-SIM smartphones.
Ha said: "We noticed local consumers wanted to have two SIM cards, but most of them could not afford two handsets."