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Nigeria is a challenging market, says Peter Lee, Samsung boss

By Emmanuel Elebeke
Recently, leading manufacturer of electronics and home appliances, Samsung held the draw of its Win-A-Milli  Promo for its customers at Planet 1, Lagos where three millionaires emerged. The Managing Director of the company, Peter Lee shortly after the event spoke to journalist on the benefits of the promo to Nigerians, reason for the promo, challenges in the telecom market among other issues, Emmanuel Elebeke was there. Excerpts:

lMr Peter Lee, MD, Samsung Nigeria

Can you tell us about your business globally?
Globally, Samsung is a graphics making company. We have many products ranging from everyday household, such as mobile phones, electronics, microwave and other home appliances. We will like to be in every Nigerian home.We think that we make superior products and believe that Nigerians will benefit from them.

In the recently concluded promo that you are drawing now, you said over seven thousand entries were involved. With the kind of money you invested, do you think you have been able to justify that promo with the kind of entry you have got?

Certainly, Nigeria is a very peculiar environment. We have improved quite a bit in our business,  in terms of getting returns in the contest. We certainly encourage many Nigerians to participate. This is not a 419 promotion. We are actually giving prizes away in all corners of Nigeria.

I personally will encourage everyone to participate because the chances of winning is very high. I will like to say that, if you participate, we run this promo to give back to the consumers. Without this, we will still be reaching out to consumers through our advertising and other means of publicity. Having participated, you find out that the prices are very substantial.

What is the motivation for such a promo in Nigeria?
We think that we want to have innovative market campaigns in Nigeria. Being a millionaire here is one of those things that interest Nigerians.

Nigerians come from vast different social classes. Some people are very interested in this campaign. Some just buy phones and do not participate. Most of them unfortunately do not participate, although, the number may seem small, but to us, it has gone up ten times compared to last year.

Last year, over twenty-five thousand participated when we ran it with Michael Obi because so many people wanted to be associated with him.
How would you rate Nigeria market in terms of mobile telephony?
To us, it is a challenging market, especially in this period of economic crunch. I must tell you that we also had a recession.

This are really a challenging times. Globally, everybody is in a recession and that will nor deter us from pursuing our target in Nigeria. We are using more Nigerian talent, and Michael Obi is an example and we used him last year. We are also doing some other promos with some other stars Nigeria can boast of. It is true that we are very much a global company but we think locally. We are using mostly indigenous talents in most of our promotions and the idea is to encourage them and the upcoming ones. We will like to be associated as part of Nigerian family. Any time we do something, we look for local talents.

Fraudsters are everywhere using different strategies to defraud people in the name of promotion, what are you doing to protect your customers from them?
We send text messages and we also warn them not to pay any money to their prizes. I have learned my lesson too. Let’s get it clear. This is ridiculous and people should as a matter of fact know that such demands should not be attached to any reward.

What is the volume of your business in Nigeria?
The Nigerian market is a green field for us. It is a great opportunity for Samsung. I will echo this to any other investor who will like to come and invest in this country. In terms of employment, we have employees. We have also invested in many parts of the country. Certainly, vast opportunity had risen in this country. Fortunately, Nigeria is our biggest market.

What have you done in terms of CSR?
Every year we run CSR programmes. We ran a football campaign last year. We are looking at accident prevention this year and we are also looking at training people on CSR, called “Real Dreams”, where Nigerians are trained to get experience in our company.

After this promo, what next?
We are a professional organization. We have many programmes. With  this, Nigerians will see  many things coming up.
The aspiration of every brand owner is to be number one. When do you think Samsung with all the harvest of promo climb to the number one position in Nigeria?

We are up to the challenge. We have many innovative products. It is an uphill battle. Being a market leader in terms of touch phones is equally another way we have used to climb to the top. How soon we get there will depend on the consumers. We are working every hard to be there.

Don’t you think Chinese copies are a major challenge to your growth?
Chinese copies are flattering. We are obviously facing a big challenge with them. We will welcome any government intervention to stop this market. We are mounting campaign to curb this through our channel partners to discourage our customers from patronizing them.

Would you say the introduction of dual Sim phones into the market is a huge success?
For us, it is a huge success. The patronage is overwhelming and we feel satisfied with the level of patronage we have received so far.


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