Why Chinese smartphone brands will still dominates in Kenyan markets.


Over the past couple of years, China’s top smartphone makers have become one of the biggest on the market. The country’s most successful manufacturers have shifted away from cheap me-too models to compete more seriously for the high end of the market. Recent years Chines brands have crushed their presence in the local market with low-cost, medium and high-end smartphones, providing customers with a wide range of internet-enabled devices.

The rising Internet usage to connect on social media, growth of app based services and the penetration of internet in the country has also driven the high demand for smartphones. The total number of mobile Internet subscriptions grew to more than 21 million last year, up from 14 million a year earlier.


Chinese budget smartphones range between Sh5, 000 and Sh20, 000, where 66% of the country occupied by the youth and 46% are unemployed hence many will go for chines smartphone where their budged range.   Hong Kong-based Infinix, for instance, has sold more than 500,000 units since entering the Kenyan market in 2014, riding on e-commerce to cut distribution costs and enabling lower prices. .The entry of Techno, Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and Infinix into Kenyan market has exerted downward pressure on smartphone prices in a market teeming.

China phones are so cheap because there are less costs of marketing and advertising included in the price. The value of the hardware of a customary phone only makes one quarter of the selling price. By buying a Smartphone you also pay for (apart from the phone itself) the manufacturer’s marketing. Companies as Samsung, HTC or Apple invest millions in advertising in TV, the internet or posters. These costs make the prices rise and have to be paid by the customer. Additionally you also pay for the manufacturer’s name. For a China phone there are none of these costs.


Mobile handsets top the list of items that traders ordered from China last year, underlining the popularity of the low-priced smartphones in the Kenyan market despite concerns over quality. Many will have to go for them because they offer same spec with leading smartphone brands like iPhone and Samsung.

A China phone has the same performance as a Smartphone of a well-known label because they are manufactured with the same hardware and technology. Even Smartphone manufacturers as Samsung, HTC or Sony have their Phones produced in China and buy the various components (display, camera, processor…) from other manufacturers there. Chinese brands as Xiaomi, THL or Cubot get their hardware from the same manufacturers as the great and popular brands. Therefore only the name makes the difference, not the technology.

Phone specs.

China phones use – as most of the well-known manufacturers – Google’s Android operating system. Often they even get more frequent and quicker updates, as this is for example the case with Samsung. Chines phones have fancy features like dual lenses at the back camera for sharper pictures, unibody metal design and fingerprint sensor. Also, they offer’s long lasting batteries which deliver up to  24 hours of talk-time and standby time of up to 250 hours.

For a long time it was said that Phones from China were nothing more than bad replicas of the well-known brands and that they didn’t work. In fact, this was right a couple of years ago. Now, however, there is a new generation of China Smartphones, which blow the branded phones away.