In just its second year in the local smartphone market, Infinix continued its prodigious growth and penetration into a difficult market through unconventional marketing and sales channels. Infinix initially launched their first smartphone in Africa in 2013, but they pulled their first line and made a crucial change of tact that saw Infinix Mobility re-enter the African market with a second a much more successful line that won over the Nigeria and Kenya smartphone market.
This proved to be the right decision for the company as they have re-afirmed their hold on the African smartphone market through the use of e-Commerce which allows them to keep their prices at a minimum along with the Chinese-inspired preference of efficiency in disregard to other inferior phone features.
Who owns Infinix Mobility?
Infinix was formed by the collusion of Sagem Wireless (remember those phones) now known as Mobiwire and Earningway, with the main headquarters at Hong Kong. The company uses a number of its subsidiaries across the world for R&D while the phones are manufactured in China. It is important to note that Infinix is a subsidiary of Transsion which is the main parent company.
Transsion also owns Tecno, another popular brand that specializes on the African smartphone market. Transsion Holdings is only 10 years into its foray into the smartphone industry launching its first Tecno phone in 2006. Their focus on the low-end market and low pricing has proven successful especially in the lucrative East and Western Africa Market. Transsion unsurprisingly also owns the super low-end brand iTel. Transsion shipped a total of 59.2 million smartphone units in 2015.
In addition to offices in Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, and Dubai the company’s foothold on the continent is further affirmed by their factory in Ethiopia that employs more than 1000 workers.
The CEO of Infinix Mobility is Bejamin Jiang and he often likes to label Infinix as the Number 1 online smartphone brand in Africa, and this is mostly true and unsurprising for a low-end manufacturer. However, it is worrying for such a progressive brand to lack a Wikipedia page.
[bctt tweet=”Infinix will become the leading Online Smartphone brand in Africa by 2018″]
Tecno is now a ubiquitous phone brand, especially since they took advantage of the recent development of a large market in the mid-range (between Ksh.5,000 to Ksh.20,000) category, but this took the company years to gain traction in this highly competitive market.
Infinix, on the other hand, achieved this within a period of two years with the company leveraging the growing efficiency of e-commerce in Kenya and Nigeria. Jumia and Konga the e-commerce startups finally exploiting companies such as Infinix to the immeasurable benefits of e-commerce.
Before becoming exclusive in e-commerce, Infinix launched their first line of smartphones that included the Infinix surfmax, Infinix race-bolt, Infinix-race lite X-401, Infinix Race Max Q etc. This line was marketed and sold using the channels that made the Tecno, the older brother, a phenomenal success.
This involved using Safaricom and brick and motar retailers as the only sales channel. However, their high price point proved unappealing and with tumbling sales numbers the manufacturer went back to the drawing board.
Luckily, for Infinix as they were still back at their drawing board two e-commerce startups with the backing and finances to scale in line with the needs of the African market were launched and winning over the consumer market.
Infinix relaunched with their second line that included the Infinix ZERO, HOT, HOT NOTE, ZERO2, and HOT 2. All have been successful in their respective target markets. It is common to find that a newly launched Infinix phone has sold out within a few hours after release. Infinix sold more than 500,000 pieces of the original Hot Note in Kenya while the Note 2 has seen 150,000 units shipped within a month of release.
According to Infinix, 70% of their sales are made online with only 30% sold through traditional retailers. Their focus on the youthful demographic with their low prices is in tandem with the demographic that is turning digital at an exceptional rate.
E-commerce has proven to be the winning formula for the difficult African smartphone market that has seen the withdrawal of numerous brands in the past.