Samsung eyes African expansion

South Korean mobile handset manufacturer, Samsung, is planning to expand its sales and distribution operations in Africa to help tap into growing demand.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  May 4, 2004

South Korean mobile handset manufacturer, Samsung, is planning to expand its sales and distribution operations in Africa to help tap into growing demand. The vendor claims that it secured around 10% of the African mobile market during 2003, the fourth year since its entrance, but is aiming to increase its share. “We consider Africa to be a potentially huge market and as a result have approached it aggressively,” says Chang Soo Choi, senior vice president, international sales and marketing, mobile communication, Samsung. “The handset penetration rate in Africa is less than 6%, compared to 22% worldwide. That represents a great opportunity for us, both for attracting mobile subscribers and in developing economic growth,” he adds. The vendor says it is trying to develop more partnerships with local dealers and distributors across Africa, including major carriers. It is also planning to build upon its existing network of local offices in Algeria, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia. “Naturally, we plan to expand that network, building both local offices and legal subsidiaries,” adds Choi. “We have [also] been making serious efforts to recruit human resources in Africa, as well as elsewhere,” he adds. Samsung is also planning to make a third phone designed specifically for the African market available later in 2004. Following the launch of its R220 and R210 models in Africa in previous years, the dual-band C110 will include support for Java, GPRS and WAP 1.2.1. “Within a reasonable price point, we intend to provide mobile phones that have as many functions as African consumers want,” adds Choi. But the vendor has pledged to remain focused on the higher end of the mobile market in Africa, rather than following rivals that have developed lower cost models for currently un-served segments of the population. “We do not plan to gain market share by releasing cheaper or less-featured options,” says Choi. “Our goal is not so much market position or rankings as intense dedication to producing quality and forward-looking design. I don’t think African consumers want phones with fewer features or less functionality, just to get a lower price,” he adds.

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