Chinese smartphone giant TRANSSION Holdings to trade publicly

TRANSSION Holdings, Africa’s leading smartphone provider, is preparing for a “backdoor” listing in China.

This will make the company, which is based in China but provides smartphones to Africa and has moved into the Indian market since 2016, one of the biggest publicly traded phone makers in China.

Transsion caters for around 30% of that African smartphone market, with its affordable brands TECNO, Infinix and itel.

Vice President Arif Chowdhury spoke to Business Chief in January about the company’s success managing the African market locally, and the company’s plans to gain a larger share in India.

See also:

Oppo to open single-branded stores in India

Transsion: think globally, act locally

Xiaomi: from billion-dollar startup to worldwide growth

Much of TRANSSION’s success, according to Chowdhury, has come from penetrating developing markets as opposed to remaining in China: “if we look at 2006-7, the mobile phone penetration in chia or the west was 60-70% but for Africa’s market the penetration rate was less than 30%,” he explains, adding, “we saw the industry in terms of China and the global technology movement, so we knew the market would really flourish, even in African countries.”

Chowdhury says focussing on developing markets has been key for TRANSSION, and understanding the local market is important. For example, TRANSSION’s dual-sim phones suit African users best, and the company even developed ‘Africa Focus’ technology so that ‘selfie’ cameras, which are popular among African mobile users, are optimised for darker pigmented skin. “We also developed local language,” Chowdhury adds, “such as in Ethiopia, we launched phones with Amharic, Tigrinya and Oromo…  this brought to the consumer’s mind that the company is very serious and wants to stay in the market”.

TRANSSION hopes to transfer its controlling stake to the Shenzhen-listed Shimge Pump Industry Co via an asset and share-swap deal, according to a filing it made on Thursday. It aims to then gain Shimge’s stock listings.

China is home to numerous smartphone giants such as Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, but few are currently traded publicly.

In 2016, Transsion expanded into India which is another huge, low-penetration developing market where the company’s affordable, adaptable brands will prove popular.

Despite plans to go public in China, Chowdhury has maintained a local focus is key in the market. “A key slogan is ‘think globally, act locally: this means using global technology to solve local needs and demands… we have to continue to listen to the market, staying ‘on the ground’ and not managing Africa from China. Africa has to be managed from Africa.”

Share

Featured Articles

Twitter timeline – how Musk pulled off a hostile takeover

Elon Musk strikes deal to buy Twitter for US$44bn following four months of cryptic tweets, secret meetings and buying of shares – here’s the timeline

Top 10 Asia restaurants, from Tokyo’s Den to Bangkok’s Sorn

From Tokyo to Bangkok, with cuisines spanning Cantonese, Thai and German, we highlight Asia’s top 10 places to eat, as per Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Microsoft: what Asia leaders need to know about hybrid work

Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index guides Asia leaders to navigating a hybrid future – from making the office worth the commute to rebuilding social capital

Meet the company: EV Nio to list in Hong Kong, enter Europe

Leadership & Strategy

12 Tech trends to watch closely in 2022, from CB Insights

Technology

Why Deloitte Australia’s HR technology is winning awards

Human Capital