Hong Kong-based Transsion Holdings had by the second last quarter of the year managed to net 30% of the African smartphone market and over 50% of the feature phone market. While the Transsion Holdings brands like Tecno are not sleeping and are already up with their 2018 plans, it looks like it won’t be just them hogging all the spotlight.
Nuu Mobiles, also a Hong Kong-based phone brand, is set to enter the Kenyan market as early as next month (February).
According to the Business Daily, Nuu Mobiles plans to offer Android smartphones that cut across the various market segments; from as little as Kshs 15,000 all the way up to Kshs 50,000.
That is quite ambitious and it will be interesting to see how they execute the plans they have in mind for the market since in recent times, most new brands (more so from China) to the Kenyan market have tended to stick with the tried and tested budget segment of the market while slowly increasing their ambitions to the upper segments of the market.
Kshs 50,000 for a smartphone brand almost everyone will be coming across and hearing about for the first time seems like a big ask.
Players like the John Sculley-backed Obi Mobiles had to fold local operations after finding the tide too high and rough to swim in while quite a good number of others are hanging by a thread. Barely surviving.
Ambitious as Nuu Mobiles’ plans may sound, things may just fall in place for them since according to the Business Daily report, they appear to have in their corner about 300 retail outlets waiting to spread the word. Additionally, Nuu Mobiles smartphones will also be on sale online.
In recent times, the Kenyan market has welcomed several Chinese smartphone brands whose devices have been on sale for quite some time now. These include OPPO which will soon be marking its third anniversary in the Kenyan market, Gionee, X-Tigi and others. Other than Tecno and the other Transsion Holdings brands, other smartphone brands straight out of China that have been around for a while, like Huawei, have struggled to get a sizeable share of the local smartphone market.
Vivo, OPPO’s sister smartphone brand, which at the moment has beaten everyone in the market and included a fingerprint sensor beneath the display of a smartphone, was assessing the ground as late as the end of 2017 with plans to also enter the Kenyan market this year.
Another Chinese consumer electronics company, Hisense, is also interested in making its debut in the smartphone market in Kenya this year after managing to cement its brand to the Kenyan customer with its televisions and refridegerators.
So, who are/what is Nuu Mobiles?
It appears, Nuu Mobiles has been making smartphones for quite some time now and, apparently, the mother company, Sun Cupid Technology, has been around for much longer than most of us have been alive.
Its device lineup includes smartphones whose designs are eerily familiar. Probably because they ape major smartphones from known global brands, something many a Chinese upstart are wont to do. Take for instance the Nuu Mobiles G3 (see image below) which made it to CES 2018 complete with an 18:9 5.7-inch HD+ “edge-to-edge” display, dual-cameras, USB Type-C and everything else that might tickle your fancy in 2018.
According to its website, Nuu Mobiles has smartphones in various brand product lines (A series, F series, G series, M series, X series and Z series), most of which we can expect to see making their way to the local market.