Africa and China key smart phone markets of the future

With smart phone penetration reaching higher and higher levels in the developed markets; the mobile sector is keenly eyeing off the developing markets for future growth. In 2013 attention is turning towards the rising success of Chinese manufacturers in particular as Lenovo; Huawei; ZTE and Yulong all posted triple digit year-on-year shipment growth in Q4 2012, according to research firm Canalys. However establishing themselves outside of China may be a problem for the Chinese manufacturers. In contrast, companies like Apple are having trouble gaining a foothold in the Chinese market where it is seen as an expensive device which is not offered by China Mobile.

Africa is also under the spotlight as it is considered to be the world’s fastest growing smart phone market with the GSM Association finding it had an average growth rate of 43% a year since 2000. To capitalise upon this, in early February 2013, Microsoft announced it was partnering with Huawei to develop a low-cost smart phone based on Windows for the region. The phone would be called Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone and priced at around $150.

Ethiopia in particular has recently become a low-cost location for mobile phone manufacturing. Three companies have started manufacturing in the country with a combined capacity of almost five million units per year offering exports to other African markets.

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