Smartphone maker, OPPO formally unveiled its strategy for the Kenyan market last month (May, 2017), seeking to emulate the success of Asian and European markets.
At an event in Nairobi, the company highlighted that its strategy will involve ‘a secretive marketing tool’ and various partnerships to promote the brand – a journey OPPO Kenya Communications Manager Priscillah Kaumo, says the firm is prepared to meticulously walk.
“OPPO is not just a brand but a global brand. We are in Kenya to stay and trust me, we have done our homework,” she quips in a candid chat at the company’s office in Upper Hill, Nairobi.
OPPO devices had been around long before the launch. This (not a so-common approach here – judging by what we have seen with other phone brands) Priscillah reveals was part of that tactic she would not ‘comment further’ about, and rightly so, she keeps tightlipped about that strategy, only choosing to say it was for a good purpose.
“It’s a recipe we can’t share, we prefer to keep it a secret,” she skillfully jokes.
James Irungu, Public Relations Manager for OPPO Kenya, notes that Asia and particularly China has seen strong brand growth due to competitively-pricing, and remains the most sought-after trademark in China.
Two years ago, OPPO silently but precisely entered Kenya with one aim, to study the market. And true to that fact, the company now says it is ready to do business and will not be cowed by perceived market trends.
Not even the Kes 32,000 OPPO F3 price tag will daunt those ambitions, let alone the brand name and counterfeit menace with the latter having crippled a lot of businesses.
As with the new entrants like Wiko, Tecno, Infinix, HTC among others finding the Kenyan market a tough market despite favorable prices, OPPO says it is not looking to undercut its more established rivals on price, but rather suggesting retain the premium prices.
“We are not only selling a brand, but quality as well,” says Priscillah.
The company’s smartphones will be sold through its own store with more emphasis to be put in training its sales staff. The phone maker says it will offer after-sale services to its customers which will be provided through its own care centres dispatched across the country.
“We will offer free services only to devices with software failure, but we haven’t encountered such cases before. We thrive in quality,” notes Irungu.
Four years ago, for instance, OPPO was competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple for a slice of Chinese market in its nascent years then, with a lot of critics ruling it out of the game at the at the initial, today the opposite is true.
In the third quarter of last year, the company shipped more than 20million devices in China alone, growing by over 105 per cent.
Figures released by research firm, Counterpoint Technology Market Research, and published by Forbes in July 2016, shows that, Chinese smartphone makers OPPO and Vivo, both owned by BBK Electronics, broke into the top five bracket of global smartphone market rankings in the second quarter of 2016, ranking fourth and fifth respectively.
It is this kind of success that the Kenyan team is hopeful of replicating.
Priscillah reckons that with the huge investments and marketing strategy the company has set up since its formal launch, impacts are already being felt and “numbers are impressive.”
She tells me that the demand for OPPO phones is on an upward trajectory and more middle class and young tech-savvy folks are fast jumping in.
“The demand for our brand is overwhelming and the numbers are great,” Priscillah says.
“The phone is not only for the young but young at heart,” says Mr. Irungu.
Quizzed on the firm’s future plans, the team, being careful with its words, could only offer, “Watch this space.”
World’s Top5 Smartphone makers of Q2, 2016
- Samsung, market share of 21.4 per cent
- Apple, market share of 11.2 per cent
- Huawei, market share of 8.9 per cent
- Oppo, market share of 6.4 per cent
- Vivo, market share of 4.4 per cent
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