After its successful launch in the Middle East last year, Obi Mobiles, the technology brand co-founded by veteran marketer and former Apple CEO John Sculley, forayed into the East Africa market last month. Targeting the young and aspirational smartphone users, Obi devices have already resonated well in both Kenya and Tanzania as the brand plans to expand to other African markets over the next few months.
“Consumers are increasingly looking to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones. However, the high cost of investment in state-of-the-art devices is a huge deterrent for a large number of aspirational buyers. At Obi Mobiles, we believe in ticking the right boxes in terms of superior design and quality at desirable price points. With the support of strong channels that reach every segment of the market, we are confident that we can add immense value to the African smartphone market,” asserts Amit Rupchandani, managing director, Obi Mobiles EMEA.
“We are charting out our entry in to the East Africa market currently. The aim is to rapidly grow in the region by forging synergies with effective channel partners. Obi Mobiles will continue to expand extensively through 2015, with Africa, Latin America and the former CIS region on our list of priority markets. By the end of the year, we aim to be in 70 emerging markets globally.”
In line with Sculley’s vision that technology shouldn’t be cloaked by jargon or remain inaccessible to a large number of people due to a high cost entry barrier, the new Android smartphones launched by Obi Mobiles offer best-in-class Silicon Valley technology at very competitive price points, thereby ensuring a greater number of people can benefit from the resulting connectivity and opportunities.
“Our commitment to African markets extends beyond selling Obi Mobiles. As a technology investor, I have been impressed by the range of talent in Kenya and Tanzania. I have had the privilege of spending quality time with some very bright and promising young people at iHub in Kenya and the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) in Tanzania. The potential for growth is immense and it will be an honour to work with these up and coming entrepreneurs,” Sculley observes while announcing that his VC firm Obi Ventures would invest in select East African entrepreneurs, and that he would extend Obi Ventures to other countries in Africa as the brand establishes itself there.
“We are expecting an explosion of ICT services in Kenya, and it is devices such as Obi Mobiles that will support them,” adds Francis W Wangusi, director-general of the Communications Authority of Kenya.