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.”


Featured Articles

Top 10 best-performing Australian companies: mines to banks

Among Australia’s largest companies by market cap are the country’s Big Four banks, a tech startup that successfully scaled, and two firms with female CEOs

Top 10 richest Southeast Asia: how they made their fortunes

From Singapore’s paint tycoon to Malaysia’s sugar king, we round up the 10 richest people in Southeast Asia – and investigate how they made their billions

Will moonlighting ever become accepted practice in India?

While not a new phenomenon, moonlighting has become a hot button issue across India with IT majors cracking down on it. Will the practice ever be accepted?

New YouTube CEO Neal Mohan joins surge of Indian-origin CEOs

Leadership & Strategy

Ex Infosys President Ravi Kumar is the CEO Cognizant needs

Leadership & Strategy

How India is bucking the global dealmaking downturn

Corporate Finance