By: Solomon Salihu
In this interview with Solomon salihu, the Country Manager of Infinix Mobility, Bruno Li reviews the performance of the Infinix brand in africa and its expectations for the new year. Excerpts:
How did the Infinix brand evolve and how did you come into the Nigerian market?
Nigeria is a big market in Africa, if you want to launch in Africa, first priority is Nigeria. Then from Nigeria you can affect the neighbouring countries easily. So most brands you see which enter the African market, first come to Nigeria, so we are doing the same thing, Nothing special.
Coming to Nigeria we were aware that we cannot do what other international brands are doing. We were always thoughtful about how to bring devices that would be accepted by the market. Nigeria is the 10th biggest market in the world, if we followed the business model of other brands, today Infinix Mobility will not be here, so we had to develop our own unique business model to fit the market.
What has been the driving force behind infinix’s success in africa, so far?
I think this stems out from the fact that at Infinix, we are concerned more about African consumers. We should understand what they really need, what, their lifestyle, what they use money to do on their smart phones, we look at everything. From when people wake up, what is the first thing they do with their smart phones, whether they check whatsApp, read messages, watch Youtube. Those details, after which we then decide what kind of phone to produce for our consumers. A typical example is that on Infinix phones, one of the most important features is the battery. You know a lot of Nigerian consumers are particular about how long a phone battery lasts, because they face a lot issues with power, so our first priority is the battery. Also Nigerians consumers like entertainment so much such as movies and music. Infinix phones are good high performance phones to listen to music and watch movies because of the big screen, very good display and of course long battery life.
Cuts in. Was that what informed your decision to create your own user interface, Xui
There are so many OEM doing the user interface in the world, am not saying we are the best, but we are the only one doing for Africa. Let’s take the iphones user interface for instance which is one of the best in the world, which am also a fan of, but am thinking the iphone user interface is more friendly for people living in the United States and Europe with good network, here it has too much headache. So Xui should be more friendly with Africa. Infinix Mobility Xui allows you to block unwanted messages and that might not be the case with other Xui that were not made with consideration for the African user.
Infinix Mobility has sold about 4million phones in Africa in 16months, what is your market share in Nigeria?
For smart phones, I think almost about 20%. Demand for our phones are still very high though and most times our customers complain that we do not have enough stock and we have our reasons for that. More so, sometimes we don’t understand that we are growing so fast and also the challenges in the local environment contribute to this, such as the economic situation which has not made business so easy for us in Nigeria.
Do you intend to establish an assembly plant here in Nigeria?
Since last year we have been concerned on how to reduce our cost. If we start to produce here in Nigeria, that would be good for our brand and definitely good for our consumers, but we are hoping for a good policy from the Nigerian government. At present, if we directly open any factory in here, it’s too much risk for us. We are very concerned on how to reduce our cost of production and if we have cost advantage here, definitely we can sell more in the market and if we cannot manage our cost of production, it won’t be good for our future business and also our consumers in Nigeria, because they spend a lot of money to buy mobile devices.
Infinix is a late entry into the Nigerian market, and within this short period you have released quite a number of phones. Are you trying to catch up with other brands in the Nigerian market?
No. Let me tell you why we launched the different series. We have the Hot, Note and Zero series. These series we launched for different customer segmentations. Other brands have their strategies and we have ours. At Infinix Mobility, we pay more attention to our consumers. We are concerned about what kind of consumer we need to target and focus on, so we launched the different series to catch them. Not because we need to catch up on market share. Definitely market share is important for us, because we need to show the report to our vendors and let them know how we are doing, but more important is understanding our customers.
Reviewing last year, how did Infinix phones fare in the market, considering the downturn in the economy?
In 2015, we faced a lot of issues and really it wasn’t easy, after Christmas entering into the new year the challenges seem to have increased. But i think we are encountering the same challenges other brands are facing too, and as my big boss told us “ In wahala always is our opportunity”.
What are the expectations of Infinix Mobility for the new year?
Actually right now, we have not fully understood the Nigerian market, we just entered. So in 2016 we at Infinix Mobility want to understand more the needs of local consumers and we want to bring in more local content together with our hardware. Also we welcome more young professionals, people in technology. Whoever has dreams or wants to work in a mobile phone company. We welcome them to join our team and our doors are open to engage them to design a phone for Africa.
Any new product coming soon?
Yes! Yes! Coming soon.
Cuts in. Can we know name? After the launch, we all would know the name. Laughs!!!
What message do you have for your customers?
We want to hear more of the comments for our device. Am referring to people who already have and are using our smart phones. They can go to our online forum at www.bbs.infinixmobility.com put all the comments they have there and we would use their comments to fix issues and also update our software and Xui to them.