Tecno maker Transsion (maker of Tecno, itel, Infinix) continues to rule the smartphone market in Africa, notes IDC, a consultancy. Transsion brands command 33.1%, Samsung lost more grounds at 24.5% while Huawei came third with 11.8%. Yet, feature phone remains the king: “Feature phones still constitute a significant 59.9 per cent share of the total mobile phone market due to their relative affordability and durability, and they continue to play an important role in connecting even more Africans to the internet.” And, “2G and 3G mobile devices remain resilient as an economical option for price sensitive consumers”.
IDC noted that the Africa’s smartphone market continues to be spurred by the growing popularity of low-end to mid-range devices.
Transsion brands (Tecno and Itel) top these segments and remain the continent’s leaders in terms of overall smartphone shipments, together accounting 33.1 per cent of the market’s volume in Q1 2019. Samsung followed in second place with 24.5 per cent unit share. Huawei ranked third with a unit share of 11.8 per cent
Just as I have noted, cheap hardware comes before operating system in Africa for most people. If U.S. bans Huawei and it makes a decent OS by forking Android, Google’s real Android will lose Africa especially if Chinese hardware makers unite around anything Huawei decides to make. Google understands that risk and is asking Trump to exempt Android from the ban.
When it comes to emerging markets, cost matters. So far, Chinese phone makers dominate therein. That they use your software and pay the necessary fees should not be taken for granted. If Trump puts heat and they create an alternative one, by ripping Android apart, future phones in Africa will not be powered by Android. Sure, Samsung will continue to have offices in Africa but it has lost market share because of price. Simply, Samsung will not save Android.
Sure – many can afford Google Pixel $1,000 Android phone but majority of Africans will decide with their purses. Provided people are still buying feature phones, it means those great features in Android do not come before the device affordability. You need to have the capacity to afford the device before you worry on how good the OS features are. They know that Apple iPhone is great, yet it has no market share in Africa. Why? Affordability.
Banning Huawei (and China) will diminish Android.
The US government has issues with China, and specifically with Huawei, so it doesn’t really look at what Africans can afford when it comes to buying phones. It may affect Google, but what the US is fighting for is way beyond what hurts Google, Boeing Max aircrafts have been grounded for months, and yet the aviation sector hasn’t closed down.
Part of what will keep Africa grounded is that erroneous belief that buying cheap imported products will help the citizens. The consequences of ‘cheap labour’ and ‘cheap goods’ from outside your territory are unemployment, lack of human capital development and stunted economic growth within your own borders. So when we yearn for certain things, we must be ready to bear the consequences.
Why do most developed economies struggle to sell cheap products? Because labour cost is high, when you push for pay rise, there’s no way to keep the goods cheap. And what do some inept politicians do? They allow companies to manufacture overseas where labour cost is lower and then sell to their citizens. The result? The jobs start drying up in your own country while those seeking entitlements from the government are on the increase.
Trump is smarter than bunch of politicians in many parts of the world!
“It may affect Google, but what the US is fighting for is way beyond what hurts Google, Boeing Max aircrafts have been grounded for months, and yet the aviation sector hasn’t closed down.” Recall that Apple got exemptions from any Trump action in China. Google would be naive not to ask for one. Apple wins on hardware on exclusive OS; Google wins on “open” OS. If US exempts Apple, Google will struggle because its partners will see artificial raise in prices in U.S. Also, despite your comment, U.S. is actually listening after many rural telecom projects in U.S stalled a week ago because without Huawei, most projects will run over budget. Yes, U.S. makes decisions not to HURT its best firms. America is thoe companies. That is why China asked all the leading US tech firms in China and told them: Go home and lobby, if not, your days are numbered in China.
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