Why Africa is ‘crucial’ to Huawei’s smartphone ambitions

2016-11-06 11:06 - Lameez Omarjee
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Smartphone maker Huawei has lifted the lid on its latest handset. (Lameez Omarjee)


Munich - Africa is a crucial region for Chinese phone maker Huawei's future growth strategy.

This is according to Gene Jiao, president of Huawei consumer business group Middle East and Africa (MEA), who spoke to journalists following the launch of the Mate 9 phablet and sports watch Huawei Fit in Munich, Germany on Thursday.  

He explained that Africa is an important market for the Chinese smart device manufacturer to tap into, because of its growing population.

"The MEA region has 67 countries. with a population of 1.62bn. Within 10 years the population will grow by 400m. In the next five years it will grow by 200m," said Jiao.

For this reason Jiao said it makes sense to expand into Africa.

"We care about the user experience," he said.

Being customer-centric is what Huawei is good at and will help set the brand apart from the growing number of Chinese brands entering the market, such as Xiaomi, he explained.

"We keep doing what we are good at," he added.

This involves looking at what are customer needs and pain points and then working to make them "vanish", he said.

For this reason the company invests no less than 10% of revenue in developing innovative technology to solve customer issues.

"We build the brand through dialogue and conversation. It is not just about sales, it is about relationship," he said.

As an international brand, Huawei has "business equity" in all countries, he explained.

"We are citizens of invested regions... We have own culture and equity and we use that to humbly serve our customers."

He added that the return on investment in Africa is "fair" and that company has reached its target so far.

Huawei partnered with German optics company Leica to develop its rear-dual camera for the Mate 9.

"Huawei is in Germany to build a great brand," said Jiao.

The partnerships with Leica and Porsche Design for the Mate 9 is part of Huawei's strategy to leverage different resources to deliver quality products for customers.

"The collaboration brings difference and positions us to solve the pain point of consumers. it helps us to always be customer-centric."

Most of the Mate 9's features were designed to create a better user experience. Among these include a better battery life. The 4000mAh Li-Po battery can last for two days without any interruption.

The camera with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels is made to improve details and quality of images in low and night time light.

It is expected to enter South African markets early next year.  

*Fin24 has been invited to Munich by Huawei as part of the Mate 9 launch.

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