Samsung developing products specifically for Africa’s needs

Samsung Electronics, which has its headquarters in South Korea, has a presence in almost 40 countries in Africa. It recently introduced the Samsung Weeks across the continent, starting with Zambia, where consumers can engage with the company’s products and services on an experimental level. In West Africa, Samsung has also partnered with the World Bank assisted initiative, Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project, to commission the first Samsung Engineering Academy in West Africa as part of its objective to develop 10,000 electronic engineers across Africa by 2015.

George Ferreira

How we made it in Africa’s Kate Douglas interviewed George Ferreira, vice president and COO of Samsung Electronics Africa, to find out more about the company’s interest in the African market.

Samsung has a presence in many African markets. Are you eyeing any new African countries to enter?

This year not only will Samsung continue to maintain its growth in key regions, but it is focused on targeting growth of 100% in West, East and Southern Africa. Over the next three to four years this growth will be underpinned by a focus on three key premises; ‘Built for Africa’ research and development, B2B and B2G partnerships supported by key CSR initiatives and of course, growing and strengthening our partner network across Africa to reach our core mission – to inspire the future of Africa.

Furthermore, we have an ambitious retail strategy to increase our market penetration in Africa, with more branded shops, mobile plazas and service centres. In this way, we inspire a sustainable future for both our partners and ourselves.

How are sales in Africa going?

Earlier this year at the Samsung Africa Forum, we announced that we are well on track to grow our business in Africa to US$10 billion by 2015, as measured by the sales of our partners. This can be attributed to Samsung’s commitment to focus on ‘Built for Africa’ research and development – providing Africa with products relevant for the continent.

Just like any consumer around the world, the African consumer wants products that speak to their needs. It’s important to know what consumers want; this allows Samsung to be able to develop relevant products – products that speak to specific needs and living conditions. What Samsung also does very well is taking environmental conditions into account when developing products for the African market. This is a very vital element as African environmental conditions are very different from European ones.

Which Samsung products have sold the most in Africa overall?

All our products are doing well in Africa – which can be attributed to the fact that we develop our products with the African consumer and environmental conditions in mind. However, given the rise of mobile devices in Africa, mobile products are the most popular – ranging from higher to lower end. In fact, according to the recent global Samsung quarterly report, the mobile communications business was one of the leading growth drivers.

Who are your main competitors in Africa?

As Samsung we welcome healthy competition, as this will only be beneficial to the consumer. With more competitors in the market this means an array of products will be available to consumers and in the process drive down the prices of products. The manufacturers who will survive and do well in the market are the ones that understand what their consumers need and want.