By Prince Osuagwu
It may appear surprising that for some mobile companies, South Africa’s mobile market is still stronger than that of Nigeria, despite huge difference in population.
Samsung electronics recently explained why, but however, commits its future to the Nigerian market.
The company said that Nigeria has the potential to overtake South Africa, with time, adding that recent developments in the market has already shown it would not take long to happen.
Chief Executive Officer, Samsung Africa, Mr Sung Yoon, who visited Nigeria recently, said despite South Africa’s population being a fraction of Nigeria’s, deep broadband penetration and almost total adoption of smartphone, makes the market bigger.
According to him, “South Africa has almost 95 percent of its mobile market purely on smartphones and 4G/LTE has deep roots in the market unlike in Nigeria where in the overall market feature phones still take a good percentage and 4GLTE is not widely accessible”
Apparently, that could be why Yoon said that building a manufacturing plant in Nigeria is a project Samsung would not think about now but in the future.
He said: “there are certain factors taken into consideration before building a manufacturing plant. We have to consider market size, return on investment and environment among others. But it is a thing we have to consider in the future”
Yoon also hinted on why Samsung drastically reduced staff in its Nigerian office, saying, “in the heat of recession, we needed to do some adjustments. We needed to have more passionate, young and talented people while some others are dropping out. It is a normal company operational strategy not for any other reasons” he added.
Earlier, Yoon had claimed that in shopping for ideas on how to inspire the world and create a future with technologies, products and designs that enrich people’s lives, the company had spent about $16 billion on Research and development, R&D alone.
He noted that the money had resulted in an array of innovative products from Samsung and paid back with great sales which includes over 700 mobile phones and 90 television sets per minute.
He however disclosed that Samsung Electronics West Africa (SEWA) is refocusing its vision and strategy for Nigeria, the West African sub-region and the continent in general. The exercise, the company said, is geared towards stimulating a higher level of operational efficiency, with the overarching objective of providing customers with the highest quality products, sales and services.
The company aim to shore up its market leadership position across the continent, through this process.
According to Yoon, “We wish to reiterate our commitment to this market and our focus on delivering the highest quality products, service and support, for which our customers have come to admire us. We can assure all our stakeholders that, as an organisation, we have gained useful insights from events of our recent past, both positive and negative, and are confident that the lessons learned will help propel us into our next phase of growth,” Yoon said since Samsung began operations in Nigeria in 2005, it has created a niche for itself by offering high quality products. This has impacted positively on the Nigerian economy in various ways, such as fostering knowledge/technology transfer and creating employment directly and indirectly for millions of Nigerians.