China’s Transsion Holdings overtakes Samsung in Africa

Solid design and low prices helped China’s Transsion Holdings overtake Samsung this year to become the number one smartphone company by sales in Africa, and now it is making inroads into India. The Shenzhen-based company — best known by the names of its Itel brands — sold more than 50 million phones in Africa in the first half of this year, mainly “feature” models with physical keypads… That cemented its status as the continent’s biggest phone producer and included 11 million smartphones, putting it ahead of its South Korean rival. Globally, Transsion is number four in terms of units sold after Samsung, Apple and China’s Huawei… though low prices mean it is only the 13th largest phone manufacturer by sales value. Since launching in 2016, Itel phones have also captured an 8 per cent share of India’s handset market, making it the third largest brand… Transsion took an unusual route of ignoring the Chinese market to build its sales in sub-Saharan Africa, adapting low-cost phones to local tastes. For instance, its handsets feature multiple sim-card slots, camera software adapted to better-capture darker skin tones, and speakers with enhanced bass. Sales in Africa could top 100 million units this year, helping the company generate more than $20 billion in revenue… About 216 million phones were sold in Africa last year… of which 57 per cent were feature phones.
Tom Hancock