In cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Addis Ababa, busy streets are awash with the bright blue shopfronts of Transsion’s flagship brand, TECNO. The company might still be a new brand globally, however, the company took a different path to success from other top Chinese smartphone makers or international mobile brands. TECNO built its business in Africa and is focused on its growth in global emerging markets. And it has no plans to change tact now.
For TECNO, future growth is set to come from building its business outside Africa by tapping into other developing regions like the Middle East, East Europe, and Southeast Asia, but with Africa still a key focus.
A recent Counterpoint research reveals that TECNO was responsible for 18% of the total smartphone shipments in Africa in 2020. The research firm attributes TECNO’s rise to a strong second half of the year and its affordable smartphone portfolio. The brand has made a dent to some of the bigger smartphone names, making TECNO a challenger brand to watch out for.
TECNO’s ethos is rooted in a business strategy called “glocalisation,” the creation of products that will sell universally but can be customised to specific markets or regions. This strategy signifies TECNO’s growth from an Africa-focused brand to a newcomer in the mid-to-high-end smartphone segment in global emerging markets.
In Ethiopia for example, Tecno became the first major phone brand in the country to offer a keyboard in Amharic, the country’s native script. This unlocked an entirely new customer base. Swahili and Hausa keyboards have also been added since then.
“This has helped TECNO grow into one of the most admired smartphone brands in Africa, as well as an expert in providing industrial-leading technology and innovative devices designed for global users in emerging markets,” explains Stephen Ha, General Manager at TECNO.
Today, TECNO’s product line is greatly enriched by its quad core smartphone product lines and a diverse AIoT products, providing consumers with high-quality middle and high-end smart devices.
“We offer a very competitive price, enabling our customers to always stay connected to the world and enjoy a fashionable way of life. Unlike many international brands, TECNO focus on users in emerging markets and creatively combines global technology with the actual needs of local consumers, bringing them cutting-edge technology with localised innovation and differentiated features. This kind of innovation is in our DNA,” adds Ha.
In 2021, TECNO plans to leap further forward with the hope of stabilising its foothold on more emerging markets. “To further expand our brand popularity, we aim to play a more significant role in the mid-to-high end market segment. We will do this by actively combining international-level partnerships to create our global brand image, while also utilising diverse and innovative branding activities to serve a growing number of young consumers.”
Joining the premium smartphone space
TECNO’s brand mission is to become the most admired tech brand in the global emerging markets by continually making breakthroughs in product innovation.
With PHANTOM X, TECNO intends to redefine the premium flagship phone trend and evolve it to new dimensions that exemplifies premium design, industry flagship camera technology, and seamless customer experience punctuated by a differentiated service. “We are confident that we have figured out a right strategy in terms of many aspects like elegant design language, camera technology, and total user experience,” says Ha.
But PHANTOM X is just the beginning. As TECNO continues to play a more significant role in the mid-to-high end market segment, it will cultivate its market position by bringing with it premium smart devices and services-based offering and lead with a customer-oriented innovation mindset.
“The mid-to-high-end smartphone market has become more mature today, and market demand has spread rapidly to global emerging markets. We are eager to push the competition into new boundaries to make flagship technology and innovation available to consumers in global emerging markets sooner,” adds Ha.
TECNO plays a crucial role post-pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges both for industry and society, however, TECNO knows that every challenge brings with it an opportunity. “During the period, we kept the communication lines with our global partners. We stood alongside our consumers to help them overcome challenges. We’ve always been the brand that pushes past limitations,” says Ha.
TECNO gave back to communities. They implemented fast-response measures to support local communities in time of outburst events such as COVID19. “Last year, we rolled out a range of initiatives to provide prevention measures, materials and educational and economical support that aims to help local communities to maintain their safety and wellbeing for everyday life.”
TECNO partnered with governments in countries such as Nigeria, Thailand, Myanmar, and India, to provide medical support to local communities. Prior to the pandemic, they partnered with UNHCR to support its global education project, Educate A Child, to help improve the educational conditions of refugee children and enable them to get more opportunities for education.
But more than taking its social responsibility to heart, TECNO is all about knowing what the customer needs, and this philosophy is at the very center of everything they do. “We are at the forefront of meeting neglected market demand by developing elegantly designed smart tech devices and services for our consumers across more than 70 global emerging markets. We want to provide consumers with a comprehensive range of high-quality products and services at competitive prices, from smartphones, tablets, smart wearables to AIoT devices,” says Ha.
As TECNO readies itself to take on the world by storm, the brand recognises the role that it plays in society.
“We are investing more around digitalisation to drive positive impact on business ecosystem, consumers as well as social development. For example, we held the first global AR launch event for the CAMON 16 series in 2020; we witnessed the rise of short-video social trend and launched the very first documentary looking at the “rise of selfie” calling out for the public to employ devices in a positive way. We are also investing more in e-commerce to bring better convenience to consumers,” concludes Ha.
One can clearly see why TECNO is on the up and up.
It is no surprise therefore that in 2020 it has outpaced its competitors in Africa and was named one of the top ten “most admired brands in Africa”, a recognition bestowed upon it by its industry peers and consumers.