“The mobile industry in sub-Saharan Africa continues to scale rapidly, reaching 367 million subscribers in mid-2015. Migration to higher speed networks and smartphones continues apace, with mobile broadband connections set to increase from just over 20% of the connection base today to almost 60% by 2020.” So reads the GSMA’s report; The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2015.
The rapid growth of the mobile industry is mainly attributed to the growing middle-class population in Africa. The middle class also demand more of the smartphones and less of the feature phones, while also demanding faster Internet connectivity. This development has seen an upsurge in demand for smartphones, something that has led to device makers like Samsung, Tecno, Infinix, Wiko, Obi and Xiaomi increasingly pay attention to the African market. Although most what these devices makers sell most in this market are entry-level and mid-level smartphones that do not break the said market’s wallets.
It has now emerged that India’s leading and home-grown device maker Micromax wants a piece of the growing African electronics consumer market. The company’s top executive announced they will be entering the African market including others in West Asia, and CIS countries come April 1, 2016.
Outside India, Micromax has a significant presence in Nepal, Russia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The company expects to grow their global operations by 50-80% in revenue by the 2016-17 fiscal year. Currently, phones sold outside India makes up 15-20% of the company’s total annual revenue which averages at about 36 million. The company sells about one million phones per month in overseas markets, a quarter of which are smartphones.
The company first entered the Russian market in January 2014 and planned to enter more European countries subsequently. However, that plan was stalled because it was hit by some major management challenges and growing competition in its home market back in India. Samsung has since relegated it to position 2 device maker in India.
Micromax has since worked on the management challenges; it re-hired some old staff, and now says it is ready to expand further into the European, West Asia and African markets.