Altech to expand into China, other markets - TechCentral

Altech to expand into China, other markets

Craig Venter

Altech will soon expand into Brazil and China, and increase its presence in India and Nigeria, as the JSE-listed IT and telecommunications group seeks to step up its exposure to fast-growing emerging markets, says CEO Craig Venter.

The group’s vehicle tracking subsidiary Netstar will announce plans soon to establish a presence in the vast Brazilian market, Venter says.

He says the group is also on the verge announcing its first foray into China. Venter won’t provide details yet of the deal it’s planning in China, but says it is related to the IT rather than the telecoms side of its business.

In India, meanwhile, the group’s UEC subsidiary is looking into the possibility of establishing a television set-top box (STB) manufacturing facility.

UEC, which operates a manufacturing facility north of Durban, has already supplied 900 000 STBs to the Indian market. “We are looking to expand Altech’s presence in India,” Venter says.

UEC is also on the verge of concluding a black empowerment equity deal, details of which will be announced soon, he says. The deal should help UEC win a contract to supply STBs for SA’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television.

Nigeria is also a big area of focus for Altech. The group already manufactures prepaid cellular vouchers for six of the mobile operators in the West Africa — it produces an astonishing 100m of these a month — and Venter says the market remains “untapped” for Altech.

The group will begin supplying bank cards and related security solutions into Nigeria. “We have set up infrastructure there to capitalise on that growth.”

East Africa is also a focus for continuing investment. Altech, which owns Kenya Data Networks, is building a US$10m data centre in Kenya. The “level-7” data centre will be fully operational by September, according to Venter.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

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