Tecno Mobile is the premium mobile phone brand of Transsion Holdings with a comprehensive mobile device portfolio that cuts across feature phones, smartphones and tablets. As a brand, Tecno is dedicated to transforming state-of-the-art technologies into localised products under the guideline of “Think Globally, Act Locally”. As an international mobile brand, Tecno has presence in more than 50 countries across the globe. It is now one of the top three mobile phone brands in Africa and a major player worldwide. Tecno is also the Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club.
I am Jesse Oguntimehin, PR and Strategic Partnerships Manager for Tecno Nigeria. I’ve been with Tecno for five years now and I have been privileged to see the brand become a household name in Nigeria and continue to make bold steps to stay at the hearts and minds of Nigerians, while dominating the African market. We are proud and grateful to be a leader in the African mobile technology market and this convinces us more than ever before that Tecno is for Nigerians. This belief drives us in making mobile devices more accessible to every class of people, enabling more people to stay connected and at the same time ensuring our array of phones suit the lifestyle of every user.
Doing business in Nigeria
Our journey in Nigeria has been that of very humble beginning, one will liken it very much to a typical Nigerian success story which is about rising above existing challenges to make an honest impact and build a brand that resonates with majority of the population. While the mobile technology ecosystem in Nigeria is still a growing space looking to meet up with global trends, the market as we know is highly competitive. Therefore, we do not take lightly our successes and the need to keep our customers happy. Being a market leader, of course, comes with responsibilities, and recognising these responsibilities ensures that we are accountable to understanding the constantly changing needs of our users. Our journey is an inspiring story.
Nobody can take away resilience from Tecno even from inception, how did the company manage to do this?
The Nigerian spirit is resilient and at Tecno we are for Nigerians; this has shaped our focus over the years. Our ‘glocal’ strategy enables us to have a global outlook in staying innovative and up to date with latest trends, and then through in-depth research and consumer analysis, we take a local approach with these global innovations to deliver products that solve local consumer needs. Every Tecno device introduced into the market is made with the local end user in mind. Consistently taking our customers’ feedback straight into our R&D facilities and working ceaselessly to translate these feedbacks into functional devices has helped us to stay flexible and dugged in the face of changes. These are traits we share with the Nigerian people.
Tecno as an innovative company
With over 50 per cent of our people between the ages of 18-34, you’ll agree with me that Nigeria is a very youthful country. This makes even more sense when you put Nigeria’s population into context. Half of over 190 million people is a such huge number to ignore, which explains why majority of products generally target this age bracket. This also explains why empowering this age bracket is extremely critical to the economic and social growth of the country. Asides releasing many Youth-focused smartphones, we also ensure these devices are very much within their earning power. We strongly believe in the development of youths in Nigeria and we have expressed this through several CSR initiatives aimed at empowering them for growth. We will continue to maintain this focus, more so as a continuously growing brand. In the long term, we hope to be part of their growth, contribute to their successes and remain top of mind in their everyday lives. This also means sticking to our “glocal” winning strategy and we are confident of always staying ahead of the competition.
Tecno’ s strategy
At the inception, we strongly believed that every consumer deserved to own a mobile phone to connect to the world. This we set out to achieve in our early stages of entry into the Nigerian market. At a time global economies experienced a meltdown and purchasing power had dropped rapidly, we still had mobile devices that majority of Nigerians could purchase, offering a lot of functional and economic benefits. We then moved on to democratizing smartphones in Africa. Looking back, we can all agree Tecno played the most significant role in achieving the milestone of mobile adoption among Nigerians. Today, we carry on with the believe that every user deserves to enjoy the experience of latest technologies and our goal remains to deliver these innovations timely and at scale across the different social classes through our array of smartphones.
We want consumers to continue to expect more from us as a brand, and we also constantly remind ourselves that innovation is very key for us to sustain our market leadership. So, through our in-depth understanding of changing consumer needs and behaviours, We pride in making latest technologies available on a large scale at unbeatable price points – features that many other brands offer at premium costs.
We live in a fast-paced business world today where you must either re-invent or die. For every well-meaning brand, competition keeps you on your toes, so you constantly reinvent yourself and the services you offer, with the ultimate goal that it benefits the consumer, while staying profitable to sustain and grow your business. At Tecno, we see competition in this light. We research, reinvent, innovate and work. This has helped us better understand the Nigerian mobile market landscape better, tailoring results in line with consumer insights and thereby earning for ourselves a competitive advantage. At the end of the day, competition is healthy for economic advancement and good for the customer.
Deployment of mobile Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence services
Commercialisation of artificial intelligence in Africa I believe is catching up as more and more businesses on the continent are adopting the global trend in different ways. It has become an important feature in many consumer electronics as well. Technologies like facial and scene recognition have become more precise than ever before thanks to Artificial Intelligence(AI), and Tecno has very much adopted AI long before now as can be seen in our smartphones. From our smartphone cameras to apps usage and efficient battery management, AI has simply become part of the mobile experience for our smartphone customers. We are also proud to lay claim to the fact that we are the first mobile brand to have made AI technology accessible to the average consumer at a time it was considered a premium feature only on high end devices.
IoT technology on the other hand hasn’t particularly enjoyed popularity in Africa yet, and we can understand why. The adoption of Internet of Things at scale will be largely driven by 5G technology which has only just commercially rolled out in very few developed countries like the US, South Korea, UK and most recently China which initially planned a roll-out in 2020 but accelerated its efforts and have achieved it sooner. GSMA estimates that commercial 5G will be available in at least 50 countries globally by 2020, and some of the biggest sub-Sahara African markets will still be at the trial stages of rollout. By 2025, only about three per cent of total mobile connections estimated at 25 million users will operate on 5G in Seven sub-Sahara African countries including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. As you have earlier stated, you can see from these statistics that adoption of IoT will come at a rather slow pace.
As an innovative company however, Tecno is ready for the future of Africa, as We have invested heavily in our R&D to develop 5G-ready smartphones capable of enabling IoT applications. Important to note also is that deployment and adoption are 2 different stages. We’ve seen amazing technologies come way ahead of their time and because the market wasn’t ready for it, these inventions did not scale. One of our biggest strengths has been to use local insights to drive the production of smart mobile devices for our global consumers. We understand the diversities of the different markets within which we operate, and many of these nations mostly considered third world countries are in the nascent stages of commercializing IoT and 5G technologies. So in due time, the brand would be churning out devices that answer higher IoT questions. TECNO is ready for this.
Our biggest investments have always been in the talent and strength of our local workforce and this will surely continue to take the forefront. However, there are a lot of high-end innovations and partnerships coming from the brand both in the short and long term, and these will have very positive impacts in the delivery of our products to Nigerians. We are looking to increase our local infrastructure and human resource investments as well, all of which will be rolled out according to plan.
Any plans to establish your factory in Nigeria?
We have not only had this in mind but have taken actionable steps towards it and will continue to work towards its achievement with the right support. Tecno is a working brand in Nigeria that has come to stay, so you can always expect more from us.
Tecno’s CSR initiative
TECNO is a brand that understands the relevance of giving back to the society and over the years have had standalone initiatives as well as partnerships to improve the living conditions of Nigerians. We recently partnered Scholar X and iManage in providing scholarships to 10 deserving tertiary students. “Give the Nigerian Child a Future” is an annual CSR project we’ve had running for at least four years now. We visit selected schools around the country to empower bright students, awarding them scholarships for their academic excellence. We also provide pupils within these schools, educational materials to ease their learning journey. There is also the three-year running ‘Light Up Your Dream’ competition where we reward young Nigerian entrepreneurs with N1 million each to grow their businesses. So far, we have produced 15 millionaires among the many enterprising Nigerians who enter for this contest. Our TECNO Foundation is committed to contributing a fair quota towards empowering the young through Education and Entrepreneurship support to ensure a more secured future for the next generation. This is among several other community projects to which we have contributed in the past including the installation of 88 streetlights around the Computer Village business district. We have plans in place to not only continue to support the communities within which we operate, but Nigerians as a whole.