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Toshiba partners with Mitsumi in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7- Communication technology firm Toshiba has appointed the Mitsumi group as its official distributor in a bid to boost market share in the East African region.

Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Toshiba East Africa Manager Donnovan Scheepers said lack of support in the region had seen many consumers switch to other brands which affected sales.

“As Toshiba expands into Africa, rolling out sales and support channels and recruiting partners within various markets, it will continue to deliver the same innovative technologies that have made the Toshiba brand so famous internationally,” Mr Scheepers said

He said competition in the region was high as a number of resellers entered the grey market segment with cheap and quick imports from places like Dubai and the Far East.

According to him, many of these grey marketers resort to selling illegal or unlicensed copies of popular software applications because they do not have access to official channels that sell and support these products thus aggravating the problem.

His sentiments were echoed by Mitusmi Sales Director Mitesh Shah who said such products were not suitable for the Kenyan market. He said the partnership would be highly successful for both companies given Mitsumi has well over 1,000 vendors in close to nine countries.

Mitusmi currently has operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Nigeria, Ghana and most recently Rwanda.

Mr Scheepers said the deal would see Toshiba raise its market share in the region to 45 percent.

“The total number we are targeting by early next year is 10,000 units,” he said.

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In a move to further ascertain its authority in the market, the company also announced that it had officially set up a sales and support office in Nairobi to facilitate easy operations.

Mr Scheepers admitted it had been challenging for Toshiba to venture into mainland Africa saying “territories outside South Africa are relatively new markets for Toshiba.”

In Africa, Toshiba is well established in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Nigeria, all of which support surrounding countries in Southern and Western Africa.

“To this extent, we are focussing a lot of our strength in establishing distribution channels in this new region.  This is why the appointment of Mitsumi is so important  it will give us a solid base to begin distribution of products and delivering services to businesses and consumers across the country,” added Mr Scheepers.

The partnership will among other things enhance after-sales backup and support for Toshiba customers within the region.

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