OPPO set sights on Kenya’s smartphone market, targets to double marketshare this year

Chinese mobile device vendor OPPO is expanding its mobile phone business in Kenya as part of its global strategy to accelerate growth in various markets globally.

The OPPO mobile brand entered the Kenya market last year, and has been making inroads in the highly competitive market, riding on its highly-developed camera technology. The company expects to double its market share this year.

(TOP: The R9s’ IMX398 sensor, jointly developed with Sony, helped cement OPPO’s position as a leading brand for state-of-the-art mobile photography).

Mr Sky Li, OPPO’s VP and MD of International Mobile Business, says Kenya is a growth market in smartphones and would be used to venture into the larger East African market.

According to Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), mobile subscription has hit 90% mark, with about 38.5 million subscriptions in the country.

“This presents a huge market for smartphones in Kenya and with the economy growing, we expect steady demand for phone across the various budget segments,” said Mr Li.

OPPO is the No. 1 smartphone brand in China with 16.8 percent market share, and the world’s fourth best-selling smartphone brand, according to IDC, boosted by its premium, camera-centric phones. The Chinese smartphones maker, which is now ranked fourth globally in terms of sales, is seeking to replicate its success in Asia, Europe and in Africa, particularly Kenya, which it says is one of its key markets on the continent.

OPPO had a strong finish in 2016, growing 133 percent in the global smartphones market, according to the latest results from independent research firm IDC. Consequently, OPPO accounted for 6.8 percent of the global smartphone market in 2016, and had four straight quarters of more than 100 percent year-on-year growth.

Mr Sky Li says the company has accelerated its global expansion since last year, extending its business to 26 countries. He said OPPO has established a marketing centre in Egypt to support expansions in Kenya and other Africa markets as well as the Middle East.

OPPO has rapidly expanded globally and has a presence in 28 global markets. In Southeast Asia, OPPO has risen to No. 2 in the region over the past two years, according to IDC. In India, OPPO’s share in the offline market rose from 1.2 percent in 2015 to 10.9 percent, as of December 2016, as reported by research firm GfK.

OPPO has focused on being a leader in mobile photography. “We are putting a stake in the ground in terms of technological breakthroughs for mobile photography,” he said. The company has lately introduced smartphones with dual cameras armed with wide-angles and telephoto lens, together with the periscope-style construction.

In Kenya, Li said, OPPO will be serving the mid-range budget segment as well as the high-end customers looking for highly sophisticated gadgets.

Founded in 2004, OPPO quickly proved itself in the market with its intense obsession to details. After entering the mobile phone market in 2008, OPPO quickly expanded into overseas markets a year later. OPPO mobile phones are currently available in over 20 markets, with the brand already registered in 116 countries as at April 2015.

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