Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone maker, which plans to counter the dominance of Chinese rivals including Transsion Holdings, the manufacturer of the popular Tecno, Infinix and Itel brands, said it will open its first store in Nairobi this year.
Following the firm’s growth in the Chinese market, Xiaomi will set up a department that focuses on African countries including Kenya.
The Chief Executive of Xiaomi, Jun Lei said Wang Lingming, the group’s former vice president for the international division, would manage the new department. Analysts said the launch of an African department by Xiaomi shows the company is keen to implement a low-cost strategy by eliminating brokers to increase earnings as it rolls out its expansion strategy in the continent.
According to American research firm Canalys, the firm surpassed US phone giant Apple as the leading smartphone maker in China during the second quarter of 2018.
Currently, Xiaomi uses vendors including Jumia and Avechi.com to ship its brands into Kenya. However, the company had earlier indicated that its first office in Kenya would be launched by March.
China’s largest smartphone makers have recently intensified their scramble for the Kenyan mobile phone space. Huge demand for entry-level and mid-range smartphones, which are pocket-friendly in a market where feature phones are still widely used, has attracted major players from the Asian country.