Johannesburg - Motorola smartphones will officially return to South Africa in 2015 thanks to a push by the phone maker's parent company Lenovo - the world’s biggest PC manufacturer.
Among Motorola’s last high profile smartphone launches in SA was the phone maker’s 2012 release of its ‘Razr Maxx’ handset.
But since then, customers have resorted to unofficial channels to purchase Motorola smartphones in South Africa as takeover changes affected the phone company’s global operations.
Google bought out Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn in 2011 but the search giant then sold the handset maker to Lenovo in late 2014 for $2.91bn.
Amid the takeovers, staff numbers at Motorola fell from a previous figure of 35 000 to 3 500, according to Aymar de Lencquesaing, the President of Lenovo Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
At a Lenovo Yoga tablet launch event in Johannesburg on Tuesday night, Lencquesaing told Fin24 that his company has acquired a Motorola that is left with a core research and development team of 2 800 engineers among its total 3 500 workforce.
Lenovo, therefore, is looking to use its own worldwide network to sell Motorola smartphones in more mature markets such as South Africa, which has over 50 million mobile phone connections according to researchers.
“When we look at the South African market, this is one of those where the brand name still resonates, has a great deal of brand name recognition and awareness, aided or unaided,” Lencquesaing told Fin24.
“So, it's easier to build on the back of a brand that resonates and is associated with engineering and quality and once a great brand and start from scratch.
"So, we're very keen on introducing that brand in the year to come, in 2015, back into the South African market,” Lencquesaing said.
Lenovo, though, has not disclosed which Motorola smartphone brands it could reintroduce into the South African market.
But Lenovo is studying the South African market more carefully to come to a decision, according to Oliver Ebel, Lenovo Middle East and Africa (MEA) Vice President.
“We're analysing which is our best way to market, which are the good channels and the range of products,” Ebel told Fin24.
Motorola’s latest smartphone devices include the Android equipped Moto X and Moto G which have been primarily targeted at the US market. In the US, these devices can be customised with the Moto Maker online service.
Lenovo: World’s top PC maker
Chinese headquartered Lenovo is the world’s biggest PC maker.
According to statistics from research firm Gartner, Lenovo shipped 15.7 million units worldwide in the third quarter of 2015 followed by HP at 14.2 million and Dell at 10.18 million units.
Lenovo is also the number two smartphone maker in China.