Can OPPO Really Take Over the Kenyan Market?


OPPO Mobile is planning to take over the Kenyan mobile market. At least that’s what I have been seeing from a top tech news site in Kenya. “OPPO to Invest Ksh 1.1 Billion to Take Over the Kenyan Market”. And this is big. Not for OPPO. Neither for other mobile companies. This is big for you and me, the consumers. Why? Competition.

But can OPPO really take over the Kenyan market? Like really take over. I mean the type of take-over where they take a large percentage of the market (if not the whole market)?

If I say this is impossible, I’ll be lying. It is totally possible. But is it practical? In the Kenyan market? No. Maybe?

One thing many international companies never seem to understand about the Kenyan market is that: WE ARE DIFFERENT. Other market models cannot, have not and won’t ever work for the Kenyan people. Look at Uber for example. They have had to give in to cash and Mpesa payments. Why? Because a) competition, b) demand. If Kenyans want something, they’ll have it their way. Or you’ll be out.

Micromax too wanted to take over the Indian market from powerhouse Samsung. And they did so by introducing a new phone every week. And not just new phones. They introduced quality and affordable phones. Sadly they couldn’t manage it in Kenya.

Want a phone with long battery? Micromax has one. Want a phone with big screen? Micromax has one. Want a phone that has loud speakers? Micromax has one. You get the idea. –

Take Infinix Mobility for example. They cannot manage a budget to advertise as much as Samsung. Talking of which have you seen all the ads by Samsung about the Galaxy J1? Yet Infinix are slowly taking an understandable amount of the Kenyan market. Why? Simple. They are giving Kenyans almost high end specs at very cheap prices. And they are doing this by doing away with middle men and having very (if any at all) little advertising. No wonder almost every university student is getting an Infinix.

I once spoke with someone at Infinix. I asked him why they never put the name Infinix in the front. He laughed. And then said, “Simple. It is cheaper. If we did it on the front we’ll charge you more. But we want to give the best at the least”.

If OPPO are serious about joining the Kenyan market and ‘taking it over’ then they have to start, I think, with the low end market. That is around 12,000 Kenya shillings. And they have to sell phones that satisfy both the high end buyers and the low end buyers. Why am I saying this? Tecno Mobile.

Tecno have a huge share of the market. The second biggest phone seller. And if Samsung mess up with their new series of phones, Tecno will probably be the powerhouse. Yet they could have easily done this long ago. How did they fail to do this? They flooded the Kenyan market with cheap, low quality phones and destroyed their brand name. Too much to an extent people hate the name. They are currently doing damage control. By having a little advertising and very nice phones. Like the Boom J7 and the Phantom Z.

OPPO need to find a way to make people believe in their name. Believe in their affordable products and also love their high end products. A good example here is Samsung. Even a crappy phone like the Galaxy S3 Lite sold many units because people believe in Samsung. And they love their high ends too. So many people will talk about the S6 Edge online but we all know few can afford it. Most will end up with either a crappy low end Samsung or some Tecno phone.

Yes OPPO can take over the Kenyan market. But they have a long way to go. And if they don’t treat Kenyans differently from the way they have other markets, they’ll be out in less than a year. Their Twitter handle is @oppo_Kenya.

So if OPPO asks me: how do we take over the Kenyan market? I’ll say: Simple. Grab the low end first and then you’ll get the high end. Operate between 12 to 40K.

Tell me what you think.


  1. Interesting topic you have here.

    There is this statement, “satisfy both the high end buyers and the low end buyers”. Three or two years back that would have been a fantastic strategy to take you to the top and that’s why Samsung was at the top, and no single vendor was an immediate threat.

    But right now, the landscape has changed. You now have to decide on the market you want to serve. Samsung for example is currently a very tight spot, the High-end market is now Apple’s property while the low end market is everyone’s property (Micromax, Xiaomi, Wiko etc).

    Apple made an attempt at the budget segment with the iPhone 5C and the Rich despised it and us in the developing world couldn’t afford it.

    Oppo is a great company and its competency lies in offering quality smartphones at economical prices.

    Starting from the low end will be detrimental as at the moment, most Kenyans buyers believe that brands with a low-cost model are of low value. That’s why most will prefer the 28K Ascend P6 over the 32K Tecno Phantom Z.

    Also, take into account that Oppo is the second most profitable company in China, and the company is all about “focusing on mid-to high-end models”. This is the segment that actually makes money for smartphone vendors.

    My best guess is that we shouldn’t be too eager for cheap smartphones from Oppo just because “when Kenyans want something, they’ll have it their way”.

    Apple barely has a share in the Kenyan smartphone market but it has close to Ksh. 200 Trillion in its reserves.

    Customer satisfaction is very important, but Oppo is first and foremost a enterprise and enterprises focus on revenues not on a massive but unprofitable market share.


    • Oppo is a great company with experience especially in consumer electronics. Launching in Kenya is a good thing though I doubt their market share would grow as fast due to the pricing of their low and mid-range offerings. The problem is that they are unknown to many Kenyans outside the tech enthusiasts, therefore harder for someone to easily buy their flagship phones. Look at the path of infinix, they launched with the Infinix Alpha Marvel which was good but I doubt had the same amount of success as their current low and mid tier offerings in the hot and hot note series. I don’t think they can easily take over Kenya since changing the perception of normal Kenyans takes more than just quality phones

      • Angelo, i do agree with you. With Infinix it was a special case, when you talk to normal people (not the nerds), they think Infinix is just another Chinese brand, but when you say, Infinix was ‘formerly’ Sagem, people’s perception about the Brand changes instantly.

        So yeah, the true challenge lies squarely in ‘changing the perception of normal Kenyans’

      • wow, I now confirm that infinix and tecno are investments of one company since earlier I thought they were just collaborating after seeing the properties of an image taken by my infinix x551


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