Egypt’s SICO plans to increase its presence in Africa

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Silicon Industries Corporation (SICO), Egypt’s first smartphone maker, is looking to enter the broader African market by the end of 2018 or early 2019 by boosting exports.

SICO Sales Director, Mahmoud Ali said the company which already exports its products to the Gulf, aims to start selling its phones in Kenya, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique and Ghana. Ali who acknowledged the huge demand for affordable phones in Africa, said the company will sell smartphones in the $50 to $60 price range to African customers outside Egypt. Ali said “it’s a promising market, and there’s less much competition than in the Gulf”.

SICO was set up in 2017 with a capital of $8.4 million and sells phones under the brand name Nile X. The company uses a Chinese design of 3G/4G US technology. Egypt’s Ministry of Communication holds 20 percent of the company while the remaining 80 percent is held by private investors.

According to Ali, SICO aims to export 40 percent of its production and keep 60 percent local. The company will also expand its market share in Egypt from its current market share of 4 percent to 12 – 15 percent in 2019. He noted that it was too early to set a sales target for exports to Africa, but he expects SICO to export more to customers in Africa than in the Gulf in 2019.

SICO’s Intenational Business Development Manager, Ahmad el-Sawaf said the company expects to triple its total production from 500,000 units in 2018 to 1.5 million units in 2019. He added that of the 1.5 million units, 900,000 would be sold in Egypt while 600,000 would be sold abroad. Ahmad noted that the company expects its target sales of 400 million pounds in 2018 to triple to 1.2 billion pounds in 2019.

The smartphone maker, which has a sales target of 2.5 billion pounds for 2020, plans to introduce new phones in 2019 by offering a total of 14 products. Currently, SICO offers six products, including smartphones and a tablet.

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