We aim to increase the market share of our brand to 35%
The Chinese company Transsion, owner of the brands Techno, Infinix, and Itel, is starting to manufacture its products in the local market, in partnership with a local investor over the upcoming period. According to Mohamed Ismail, head of business development for the Middle East region at Transsion, the Egyptian market will continue its growth in mobile sales over the coming year, to reach 17 million sold devices.
How do you see the changes that took place in the mobiles market?
The mobile market’s sales have been growing since January up until now. The growth is expected to continue until next year when the market can recover its health and go back to the normal pre-flotation rates.
The flotation [of the Egyptian Pound] has caused a decline in the market sales and negatively impacted other sectors, however, the overall sales in many sectors are starting to go back to normal.
What are your expectations for sales over the upcoming period?
The sales are expected to increase this month and the first quarter of next year to reach 17-18 million sold devices annually.
Despite the decline in sales following flotation, the market managed to recover; what is the reason?
The recovery speed is dependent on whether mobile phones are considered a necessity or a luxury by consumers. They see it now as a necessity. It comes right after food and clothes. So it was natural for the market to recover this quickly, especially with the changes taking place in the market with the launch of 4G services.
After the decline in purchasing power, there was demand for installaments and maintenance. Was that clearly felt?
Up until this moment, there are no major installment services, except through some mobile operators—a percentage of no more than 1% of the market and it is mostly allocated to expensive devices. The installment procedures of buying a phone are similar to the procedures followed in any other product, which makes the procedures complex.
In some countries, phone installments are easy, and if this was applied here, a leap in mobile sales could happen. We are working on allowing installments with simple procedures that suit all social classes, in partnership with some authority, however, we will not be announcing any details before next year.
Demand for maintenance services increased, hence, we increased the number of maintenance centres, reaching 11, and which we aim to increase them to 15 during the first half of next year.
The weakened purchasing power has also resulted in an increase on medium-segment phones and making customers compare between more than one brand to choose the best phone in terms of specifications and prices.
The market has recently been witnessing vicious competition, what do you think are your competitive advantages?
Competitiveness increases market mobility, and this is positive for us and for consumers, because market players work to improve their situation in the market in search of a competitive advantage compared to other brands.
What is the largest price segment in the market?
It is one that ranges between $100 and $250. The manufacturers who manage to take a good share of this segment top the market.
As for the high-price segment, it represents nearly 5% of the mobile market and witnesses the competition of three brands, while the real competition is in the medium-price segment.
The technologies used in mobile phones now are all similar, what distinguishes your products?
While the technologies may be similar, our brand is distinct for the integration of the mobile specifications and how much these specifications meet the requirements of consumers. These specifications are also suitable considering the device’s price. No phone comes with all the required specifications.
What are your expectations of the market by the end of this year? What are the expected growth rates in 2018?
I expect the mobile market to reach a total number of phones sold ranging between 15-16 million devices. Next year, the number may grow to nearly 17 million devices. The share of traditional phones next year may drop to 25% compared to 30% this year.
What are the main themes of your plans in 2018?
We will focus on a larger number of branches and geographic coverage of our three affiliated brands Techno, Infinix, and Itel. We will also pay more attention to providing 4G products, especially with mobile operators.
What about your plans to manufacture in the local market?
Currently, our company is turning from being a company owned by individuals to a company owned by a shareholding company in two stock exchanges in China. This step makes decisions fairly slow until the launching operation is done, so the steps to establish a factory are slow. This is why we partnered with one of the local manufacturers to start the manufacturing process until we establish our own factory in Egypt. This process will begin early next year.
What is your share in the Egyptian market?
Through our three brands, we were able to acquire 28% of the mobile market and we aim to increase the share to 35% next year.
How do you see the changes in the investment climate at present?
The new investment law has greatly helped improve the investment climate. However, we need more facilitation of procedures to achieve general economic growth because this will certainly leave its impact on the mobile market, hence, will help attract manufacturers to the local market to consider Egypt an export base to Africa.
What are new products your company plans to launch soon?
We will focus on our products that support 4G. This month we will launch Infinix Zero 5 Pro, Itel A43, Techno WX3, and WX4 Pro.