Chinese telecom company Transsion has not sold a single phone in China, but it beat out heavyweight competitors like Samsung and Apple to quietly dominate the African smartphone market, a CNN report revealed Wednesday.
Its success was an unusual corporate strategy designed from the ground up to seize African market share at the same time Chinese political influence spreads across the continent.
As CNN reported in a profile of Transsion and its flagship Tecno brand on Wednesday, the phones sold in Africa are actually optimized for snapping photos of people with dark complexions.
Tecno phones have two or three times the battery life of common brands in other markets, and they are incredibly cheap, with even top-end models selling for the equivalent of $200 U.S.
The Chinese firm realized big global players like Apple simply weren’t interested in designing specialized phone products to chase the budget African market.