In China, Tecno doesn’t have a single store. Its towering headquarters in the southern megacity of Shenzhen goes largely unnoticed among skyscrapers bearing the names of more famous Chinese tech firms. Tecno has never sold a phone in China.
In cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Addis Ababa, busy streets are awash with the bright blue shopfronts of Transsion’s flagship brand. Tecno, completely unknown in the west, dominates markets across Africa. Global giants like Apple and Samsung are trailing in its wake.
Other top Chinese smartphone companies like Huawei and Xiaomi started out in China, and then expanded overseas, but Tecno confidently decided on a different route.
One of the reasons for Tecno’s success in Africa is because the camera is optimized for the African complexion. Transsion Vice President said, “Our cameras adjust more light for darker skin, so the photograph is more beautiful. That’s one of the reasons we’ve become successful.”
Battery power was also important to African customers because of poor electricity. Tecno provided phones with greater battery life to manage the situation, and this was instantly appealing to many customers all over Africa.
Given that network operators were charging exorbitant prices for the network they provided, most phone users had more than one sim card, alternating between cards depending on what they wanted to do. Tecno was among the first brand of phones that quelled this quagmire when they manufactured phones with two sim cards, allowing users to reduce the habit of turning their phones off and removing the batteries just to switch sim cards.
Continually meeting the primary phone needs of African customers have given them an unbelievable appeal, and incredibly successful.