Thursday, December 8, 2011

Airtel, Samsung In Strategic African Partnership

*Manoj Kohli

*JK Shin
Encouraged by their strong brand equity, well developed distribution infrastructure and footprint across the African continent, Airtel Africa, a leading telecom operator in Africa and Samsung, acclaimed world’s second largest mobile manufacturer have entered into a two-year strategic African partnership agreement aimed at achieving common goals and driving penetration in the continent. 
The agreement allows Airtel exclusive distribution rights for selected Samsung products for the initial six months after they are launched. The two companies will also work together to provide market-specific products based on trends and consumer preferences, ensuring Airtel customers have access to products that are tailor made to their individual needs.
The wide range of innovative products that Samsung will collaborate with Airtel on include smart phones, mass market handsets, tablets, dongles and routers.
Samsung had between July and September this year, become the world’s largest supplier of smart phones, according to research conducted by Strategy Analytics. Over the three month period, Samsung shipped 27.8 million smart phones worldwide, compared with 17.1 million from Apple and 16.8 million from Nokia. 
Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, Bharti Airtel explained:  “This partnership demonstrates that we remain committed to meet Africa’s needs. We will work closely with Samsung to provide customers across every segment with cutting edge products. We will leverage each other’s distribution networks to ensure
that the range is within reach of our high value and corporate clients, our larger base with price in mind and especially cater to our young adult market.”
 Africa is the home to over 1 billion people and is also the world’s youngest population. Under 25’s account for 60% of the total population, compared with around 30% in developed countries.
Kohli further remarked that “Airtel and Samsung will also join forces to develop services that will enhance mCommerce, mHealth and other areas that have significant social benefits for the communities that we live and work in across Africa.”
Airtel’s growing footprint currently spans 17 countries on the continent and the company intends to expand even further into Sub-Saharan Africa. As an integral part of this expansion plan, the telecommunication services provider plans to roll out up to 2,200 retail stores across Africa in 2012. These will act as key retail outlets for the Samsung portfolio.  
JK Shin, President, Samsung Mobile Division stated: “African markets are very important to us. We know that our success in Africa depends on forging meaningful partnerships with key players on the continent, and this is why we decided to join forces with Airtel. We share similar goals, and believe that companies have a greater responsibility to the markets in which they operate. This is why our vision for Africa is to develop products and programmes that are built in Africa, for Africa, and by Africa. This strategic partnership with Airtel will help us do exactly that.”
Shin added that they were confident that this partnership will help Airtel achieve its vision to reach 100 million customers by 2013.
Apart from China and India, nearly all the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook 2011.

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