South Africa is set to welcome the continent’s first smartphone production unit. A project that comes after the start-up Onyx Connect obtained the operating license for Android and Chrome, Google products since renamed Alphabet. The company is also counting on the fall in the Rand to compete with products imported from Asia (China, Taiwan and South Korea).

The South African start-up Onyx Connect has just obtained a license allowing it to launch the production of smartphones under Android and Chrome licenses (owned by Google). A deal that will allow the company to start production of low-cost smartphones for a price of $ 30. A low-cost product intended for the South African and regional market which is experiencing growing demand for telecom equipment.

Onyx Connect is optimistic

Onyx has also just finalized a fundraising of 150 million Rands (approximately 109 million dollars). Funding that will be allocated to the establishment of the production component of the company. Indeed, before obtaining the Google license, the company marketed tablets assembled in China. On the strength of the agreement with the American Internet giant, Onyx Connect plans to start production of smartphones in Johannesburg. An industrial unit which will be supported by a logistics center which will be located in Ethiopia. This new industrial orientation for the Sandton start-up is expected to create nearly 600 jobs.

The management of Onyx Connect is optimistic about the viability of the project and expects production of “African” smartphones to begin in the first half of 2017. The company also intends to sell its production initially via its network approved sellers and resellers. The start-up is also in negotiations with the telecom operator Vodacom Ltd to integrate its range of low-cost smartphones into its product portfolio. In addition to the telephone, Onyx is also studying the possibilities for the production of Android TV boxes.

Riding the Rands Decline

This revival of the South African company aims to meet an exponential demand for low-cost “smart” phones in South Africa and at the continental level. Indeed, the strong mobile penetration and the appearance of a multitude of related services with high added value such as mobile banking represent reliable growth drivers for the entire IT value chain, from the cable manufacturer to the producer of terminals, through telecom operators and application developers.

The base model of Onyx Connect, which is expected to cost $ 30, will have a camera and 1 Gb internal memory. A competitive price compared to those charged by the majors of the telephone industry (Samsung and Apple). The company is also counting on the 40% decline in the Rand’s value against the dollar to make their products more competitive in a market dominated by telephones imported from China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Africa L a Tribune

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