Cellcom Evertek’s Mohamed Ben Rhouma has made it clear that this Chinese phone company is not intimidated by the big names in the phones market, the likes of Samsung and Apple. He says that so far
The company as been in existence since 2008. In February, an initial public offering of the company on the Tunisian stock market sold 31 percent of the company for 31.2 million dinars ($19.3 million).
“People asked me why I would try to fight the big brands,” said Ben Rhouma. “This is unfortunately a culture in Tunisia. People underestimate what they are capable of.”
The main things that will make the phones more appealing to the Tunisian market include features such as dual SIM card slots that allow consumers to quickly switch between different service providers, useful in a country where service from any one company can be inconsistent.
“We know what the Tunisian wants,” Ben Rhouma said. “International brands might propose a better screen, a better camera, but at the end of the day you can barely see the difference with the naked eye.”
Evertek’s phones are relatively cheap. Many of its smartphones run for about 300 dinars ($200), while those from large international companies can cost at least three times that in Tunisia.
However, Ben Rhouma said: “Tunisia has a complex, and many do not respect goods produced locally. Some foreigners are more convinced than some Tunisians [about the company]. This is not just for phones, it’s for clothing and other products.”
Evertek had sold phones on the French market, but Ben Rhouma says the company is now focusing on expanding in Tunisia and North Africa.
Ben Rhouma believes that Tunisian businessmen need to create more domestic brands and focus less on producing things for foreign companies. Currently, foreign brands produce textiles and other goods in Tunisia for sale abroad.