DAVID PILLING: There is profit in Africa for products that people want and can afford
Chinese company Transsion is outselling Samsung phones because it sees the continent as an opportunity not a basket case
All over Africa, in its clogged cities and fast-changing towns and villages, buildings are painted in Tecno blue and billboards offer the allure of the Tecno brand. From the Grand Marché in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to the business hub of Nairobi in Kenya, where entire 20-storey towers are slathered in the Tecno logo, aspirational Africans are being bombarded.
What is Tecno, you may ask, if you are not a frequent traveller to the continent? Tecno is an Africa-specific brand created by Transsion, a Shenzhen-based handset manufacturer. Last week, the company, founded in 2006, listed on the Star Market, Shanghai’s Nasdaq wannabe, closing up more than 60% on its first day for a market capitalisation of about $6.5bn.