KENYA – HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones Global is eyeing the larger East African market with 10 per cent growth in Kenya and using it as its base to further increase its share of the smartphone market.

This comes after successfully unveiling the Nokia C1 and Nokia 2.3 in the Kenyan market in December, 2019, which came a week after the global launch in Cairo on December 5, 2019.

The company which has a variety of feature phones is planning a major expansion on the smartphone’s platform, in the wake of growing technology adoption and internet access in Kenya.

“Kenya is our key market which we want to strengthen as we further grow to other markets in the region. Our growth is focused on smartphone,” HMD global CEO Florian Seiche said.

The company is counting on among others, its partnerships with service providers in the country to expand its market.

“We will continue bringing products that are relevant for the African and specifically Kenyan market,” said Justin Maier, Vice President Sub Sahara Africa.

The company made a comeback in the smartphone industry about two years ago, counting on the Nokia brand name to make inroads in a sector that has seen increased competition year-on-year.

HMD has cited counterfeits as among the key challenges faced by investors and companies in Kenya, calling on authorities to not only curb entry of these goods at ports and airports, but also monitor local assembling which is used by rogue players.

“Today people bring parts and assembly them locally. There needs to be a lot of public awareness on counterfeit products and their effects,” Seiche said.

“South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the key markets in Africa. We want to build our own presence in the three hubs. In Kenya we will deepen partnerships and develop other East African markets such as Uganda and Tanzania from here,” said Mr Seiche.

The HMD Global management team has been on a tour in Kenya meeting regulators and government officials in a bid to widen its grasp of the competitive mobile devices market.

According to Mr Seiche, feature phones remain a key focus point for the year in Kenya following the performance of devices such as the Nokia C1.

“We want to offer products that are relevant to key markets. Feature phones remain key in focus,” he said.

HMD has also been pushing its devices for business use focusing on the regular security updates across the entire range.

Mr Seiche also appreciated the new consumer financing schemes in Kenya that facilitate users to buy devices on credit, repaying over a set duration.