Is Your ‘Blackberry’ a Blackberry?– When Fake Devices Take Over Lagos

For most foreign brands like Nokia and Blackberry, the greatest threat to their businesses may not be competitors like HP and Dell, but fake products that are dumped in Nigeria. It is easy to get ‘Blackberry“ at prices lower than the main Blackberry. As devices become hot sellers, counterfeits jump up. That is what Nokia has been fighting all these years in Nigeria. You product is in the market, everywhere, yet you cannot see that in the revenue stream.


We have a solution for these companies – come to Nigeria and build your plants. That way, you can easily adapt. Follow what Star larger beer did by simply eliminating that problem through re-engineering of the bottles. It used to be that everyone drinking beer was drinking Star, yet at month end, they could not see any revenue. People were buying 33 and other cheaper brands and bottling them in Star labels. But when the bottle was changed, the revenue went up because anyone drinking star now is actually contributing to the brand revenue.


The game will not stop anytime soon because the people hired to curtail this problem may not see it as a big problem. We mean the Nigerian police. You need to move them to take this serious. You have to be innovative to protect your brand and now is the time to plan building a regional plan where you can simply tell government, we make this product in Lagos and none can be imported. The customs guys will easily follow that since they will know the product ideally should not be coming from outside the country. If there are smugglers, maybe, you change your casing and use that to get the fake ones from China out of ‘competition’. But if you do not do that, Blackberry will continue to lose market share to ‘Blackberry’.

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Nigeria is a huge market. We have nearly 930,000 active Blackberry handsets now – about 1.1% of the total active 83m active handsets users in the nation. How many are fake BB may decide how far BB can compete as the day of Apple approaches to challenge their true dominance in business smartphone sector.


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