NAIROBI (Reuters) – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics plans to double the annual revenue contribution from its African markets to 20 percent of the firm’s global total in the next five years, the head of its business on the continent said on Monday.
Sung Yoon said the electronics giant, which accounts for over half of the mobile handsets and televisions sold in African nations like Kenya, would set up shops and other retail channels in more African countries and cut product delivery times.
“We think Africa is extremely important for the future,” he told Reuters after a news conference in Nairobi.
Demand for Samsung products was being driven by growing African demand for bigger TV and mobile phone screens, he said.
Most customers were now buying 55-65 inch TVs, up from 32 inches about a decade ago, while mobile users were no longer content with three-inch mobile phone screens.
An increase in connectivity across the continent, helped by higher investment in telecommunication infrastructure, would further boost demand for devices in future, Yoon said.
Telecom executives say more African consumers are turning to smartphones for more basic models, helped by faster Internet speeds, to use social media and banking applications.
Yoon said Samsung faced competition in Africa from cheaper devices, undercutting even Samsung’s more basic smartphones.
“Those entry products are still slightly more expensive than our low entry competitors so it’s difficult to reduce the gap … We cannot sacrifice the quality,” he said.
Samsung’s rivals in Africa include China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and Tecno, owned by Hong Kong’s Transsion Holdings.
(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Edmund Blair)