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Chinese phones flood Kenyan market

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 7 – Financial constraints as well as changing consumer patterns are slowly driving the Kenyan population towards buying non-branded phones.

A survey by TNS International released on Monday shows more and more Kenyans are not swayed by conventional mobile handsets opting for cheaper alternatives.

The proliferation of low cost phones especially from China has seen many Kenyans shy away from buying well established brands.

TNS Global Director for Rapid Growth and Emerging Markets James Fergusson said Kenyans are becoming more interested in convenience and functionality offered by low cost phones that has seen change in purchasing trends.

“The key thing about Chinese devises is that they are at a lower price point and offer strong functionalities at a lower price which is appealing for many Kenyans,” Mr Fergusson said.

According to Mr Fergusson, there has been a push by Chinese manufacturers to drive their brands locally that saw an increase in the number of phones being bought from the country.

This is further helped by the removal of value added tax (VAT) on mobile handsets.

For many Kenyans, Chinese handsets are more appealing because they have similar features to other established brands and sometimes-added features such as dual SIM capabilities.

The phones also have Internet capabilities that he said would help drive Internet penetration.

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“What that does is that it provides access to value added services and a gateway not just into mobile applications but into internet applications,” he said.

The survey indicates the trend in emerging markets is to go for phones that bring the aspect of convergence due to limited finances and can only afford one device at a time.

“The mobile phone is the lead device because of the huge value and utility it provides people. Having a mobile phone can help people jump a social economic level,” Mr Fergusson said.

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