Toshiba targets Africa

Notebook vendor Toshiba has strengthened its regional management team with the appointment of Leon Gifford as regional marketing manager for its computer systems division. Gifford’s territory covers the Levant and Egypt and he will also play a pivotal role in Toshiba’s attempts to crack the African market.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  June 19, 2005

Notebook vendor Toshiba has strengthened its regional management team with the appointment of Leon Gifford as regional marketing manager for its computer systems division. Gifford’s territory covers the Levant and Egypt and he will also play a pivotal role in Toshiba’s attempts to crack the African market. Toshiba currently works with a network of 12 distributors in nine countries in the Middle East and Africa region, with six more African countries scheduled to come on stream during 2005. “While we have a strong brand presence in parts of Africa, this is through the unofficial channels,” said Gifford. “We will be very strategic in breaking these markets, concentrating on identifying the right official partners, channels and service providers to ensure every Toshiba customer is guaranteed the highest levels of consumer protection.” Toshiba reckons that it can replicate the strong position it currently holds in the Middle East in Africa as well. The first round of countries to be targeted includes Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia followed by a second batch of target markets including Nigeria, Ghana and French-speaking African countries. “We are looking to identify potential partners that have a strong affinity with the Toshiba brand, as well as excellent logistics and routes-to-market,” added Gilford. “For these new areas, we must build on existing brand loyalty among consumers, yet through the correct channels.” “The only way to reassure customers of the ongoing value of buying through our recognised partners is by providing value-added features, such as after-sales service and support and an international warranty,” he continued. Gifford is also responsible for creating an in-depth sales and marketing approach to the markets in the Levant and Egypt, where Toshiba claims that it is currently one of the top two notebook vendors. “Our target in the Levant and Egypt is to focus on developing our role in the small to medium business sector while continuing to grow the retail and large enterprise areas of our business,” concluded Gifford. Prior to his new role, Gifford previously acted as country manager Middle East and Africa at peripherals and accessories vendor Targus. Part of Gifford’s role at Targus was developing distribution channels in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and East and Central Africa

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