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Obi mobiles to launch in Africa

By Standard Reporter | Jan 15th 2015 | 4 min read
By Standard Reporter | January 15th 2015

NAIROBI, KENYA: Obi Mobiles, the new smartphone brand co-founded by veteran marketer and former Apple CEO John Sculley, is preparing an ambitious launch in Kenya and other countries in East Africa, and has signed on DESPEC, the leading IT distributor as its exclusive channel partner in the region.

The firm is set to roll out a superior line-up of Obi devices suited to consumers in the region in Q1 2015, with an aim to capture 5 per cent market share by the end of this year.  

John Sculley is an internationally renowned marketing expert, entrepreneur and investor in high-tech startups. He was vice-president (1970–1977) and president of PepsiCo (1977–1983), until he became CEO of Apple in 1983. He held that position till 1993 and, under his management, annual sales at Apple increased from $800 million to $8 billion.  

A new entrant in the consumer technology sector, Obi Mobiles is a venture of Sculley’s Toronto-based Investment and Acquisition Company, Inflexionpoint. It marked its global launch in India, followed by the Middle East markets in 2014. The brand, which aims to attract the growing segment of young and trendy smartphone users, confirmed that Kenya is an important market in Obi’s rapid global expansion strategy.  

John Sculley, co-founder and managing partner at Inflexionpoint, says: “Our vision is to use Obi’s success in each new market to create an international brand, especially targeted at the feature-rich and trendy smartphone segment. Having launched in India and the Middle East, with a better-than-anticipated response, has helped us set the pace for the Obi expansion blueprint, and now we are expanding our strategy of effective brand building and marketing for superior mobile devices in other regions.  

“The African markets present a huge opportunity for new smartphone devices, with a growing population of technology- and fashion-savvy youth. Consumers today want the best feature-rich smartphone experience at desirable price points, without compromising on quality. There is also a growing trend of feature phone users moving towards smartphones. Our analysis has revealed that consumers today are more likely to switch brands as long as they have sufficient incentive. Obi is uniquely positioned to leverage all these changing market dynamics.” 

Designed to capture the minds of the younger demographic, Obi devices are packed with style and superior features. The range includes mobile devices that run on the efficient Android Kit Kat platform, powered by multi-core processors, including an octa-core option, dual-SIM capabilities, large screen sizes and high quality camera options, all packaged in a robust and stylish exterior. 

Amit Rupchandani, Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa region at Obi Mobiles, adds: “While the mobile industry is often associated with highly expensive products sold using technical jargon, at Obi Mobiles the belief is that it doesn't have to be this way. Obi is perfect for the growing number of mobile phone users in this region who desire the best smartphone experience without a huge financial investment.  

“Added to that is our brand philosophy of ‘Whoever you are’. What it essentially means is that Obi doesn’t judge you, it lets you be you. In keeping with that, we have a broad range of quality products to suit the different personalities and preferences of smartphone users.

“We are charting out our entry in to the East Africa market currently, and aim to rapidly grow in the region by forging synergies with effective channel partners. Obi will continue to expand extensively through 2015, with Latin America and the former CIS region up on the list of priority markets.”  

As a value-added reseller to Obi Mobiles for Kenya, Tanzania, and other African markets, DESPEC will manage the distribution of Obi devices to all key retailer and independent retailer channels in these countries.

Farouk Jivani, CEO, DESPEC Africa, says: “DESPEC is excited to be appointed as the exclusive channel partner for Obi Mobiles in Kenya and other East African markets. Obi has paid special attention to creating an image that resounds with the large section of young and aspirational smartphone users in Africa. Their entry in these markets will additionally be buoyed by trends such as increased mobile internet usage and penetration among target consumers. We look forward to working with Obi and establishing the brand as one to reckon with in the region.”  

The Obi smartphones for the African markets will be unveiled in March in Kenya, followed by a phased roll-out across other markets in the region.

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