By Daniel Shane
Chinese tech firm says it aims to be among top three smartphone vendors in three years
Technology giant Lenovo will be among the Middle East’s top three smartphone vendors by market share within three years, a senior company executive has told Arabian Business.
The Beijing-based firm, which in 2012 recorded more than $30bn in sales and is the world’s second largest PC maker, on Monday officially launched its range of handheld devices in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Lenovo said that Samsung and Nokia were currently the market leaders in the region, and that it would follow up its launches in the two Gulf markets with other countries in the Middle East and Africa.
“In the next wave in the second half of the year we’ll likely do a couple of countries in Africa, and the wave after we’re targeting some more countries in the Middle East as well,” Oliver Ebel, vice president for Middle East and Africa, told Arabian Business. “Within the next three years we want to be one of the top three smartphone vendors in these markets.”
The company declined to specify how many devices it was expecting to ship in the region during this timeframe.
Lenovo, which has sold 40m smartphones in China where it is the second largest player, said that it was targeting the Middle East due its similar market dynamics to its home country, where sales are mostly driven by retailers, rather than operators.
The company has signed distribution agreements with local retailers including Jumbo, Axiom and Al Haddad.
“Saudi and the UAE are retail driven markets, compared with Western Europe and South Africa, which are markets completely driven by operators,” Ebel added. He said however that Lenovo was seeking talks with local telco firms such as Etisalat and du over possible partnerships, although nothing had been formalised in this regard.
Lenovo’s handsets range in price from AED499 to AED1,999 in the UAE, and run from entry level smartphones to higher end devices that will compete with Samsung’s Galaxy and Apple’s iPhone.
The Gulf is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for smartphone sales, with penetration in the UAE standing at 62 percent, according to Google statistics, with forecast growth of 18 percent this year.
Worldwide, smartphone shipments are expected to reach 959m in 2013, according to market tracker IDC.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.