NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – In a bid to bridge Africa’s digital divide, Samsung Electronics is planning to double its Smartphones sales and marketing plans on the continent by enhancing penetration based on the growing local demand.
Samsung Business Leader for East and Central Africa Manoj Changarampatt revealed that Samsung researched and understood the uniqueness of the African environment and perspective in order to create products that are specifically tailored for local communities and are adaptable to the rest of the continent.
“We’re entering new countries… we’re investing into more territories, and while other companies are moving out of the African market, we’re walking into the big countries and establishing an entity by investing in infrastructure and human resources,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the Galaxy Note II, Changarampatt pointed out that Smartphones are outselling personal computers at the ratio of 4 to 1 in the three key African markets and disclosed that Samsung’s investments in new generation mobile phone technologies is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2014.
“The demand for Smartphones is currently being fuelled by growing mobile data services usage on local 3G mobile networks,” he said.
“Currently, Samsung estimates that 50 percent of Internet connections are exclusively on mobile devices, effectively confirming the need for further Smartphone penetration,” he explained.
He added that unlike in Europe, more Africans are likely to enjoy their first Internet experience on a Smartphone and not on a personal computer.
“The launch of the Galaxy Note II is part of our efforts to bridge the digital divide by delivering Internet enabled easy to use devices in Africa, which is the 2nd largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world,” he explained.
“We have introduced ‘Premium Suite’, a software upgrade which provides enhanced user experiences and with the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS upgrade, we are offering innovative new features such as Shape Match and Formula Match, which provide users with features for organized expression in their personal and professional life,” he added.
Changarampatt also revealed that Samsung has launched its Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria as part of the company’s broader goal to develop 10,000 Electronics Engineers across the continent by 2015.
“We have a facility in Westlands which has resources to train youngsters on most of the products we manufacture and bring to Kenya,” he said.
“This is the first engineering Academy of its kind in East Africa. The future of the engineering academy is that we will extend our engineering training lessons to other skills because we are looking forward to developing soft skills,” he added.
Students selected go through a year’s program which comprises basic, intermediate and advanced engineering skills, aligned to their set curriculum at a corresponding technical school and upon completion of the program, students earn themselves an opportunity for an internship at Samsung or Samsung’s channel partners.
Over 100 students were selected from E-learning Centres at PC Kinyanjui and Kabete Technical Institute to attend the academy and receive hands-on, practical skills training at no cost.
“Opening up skilled, well-paying job opportunities for its students; differentiates Samsung’s quality of service to its customers as we build a workforce of technicians and exclusive service experts in line with the government’s drive of creating decent jobs, especially for young citizens,” he said.
Samsung has already initiated its “Built For Africa” campaign and approach to design and sales across the continent.
“We have our Build for Africa programme where specific devices and units, not only on the mobile device front, but across the range, have been specifically built for Africa for Africans,” he explained.
Some of the Built For Africa products include: the Samsung LED TV SurgeSafe+, which is a second-generation that is able to deal with the impact of humidity, lightening and electricity surges, the Classbook Netbook designed for the African classroom and various air conditioning systems that use a virus doctor technology that eliminate bacteria, viruses and allergens in the air.
Changarampatt explained that as part of their ongoing efforts to bridge Kenya’s digital divide through basic education solutions, they donated Samsung Galaxy Tablets to aid in E-learning at the Elim House of Grace Academy and Amaf Academy in Nairobi’s Kawangware suburbs in July.
“This digital learning solution will be rolled out to other schools in Kenya later this year,” he revealed.
“The programme will also monitor the students’ learning outcomes by analysing their test scores; cognitive thinking and focus abilities; social and environmental consciousness; as well as IT literacy,” he added.