Consumer electronics giant TCL Technology, a direct competitor to Hisense Group, is eyeing a bigger slice of the South African smartphone market.
TCL previously sold phones in the South African market under the Alcatel brand name or as Vodafone-branded devices through Vodacom channels.
Regional manager for Southern and East Africa at TCL Ernst Wittmann told TechCentral this week that more work is needed to ensure the TCL brand is front of mind for South African consumers.
The company is working to “bring the TCL brand to life in South Africa”, Wittmann said, and has a target to become the fourth largest smartphone brand locally (including sales of its white-labelled devices marketing and sold through Vodacom’s channels). This would mean achieving at least 10% market share, something Wittmann said can be achieved over the next 24 months.
TCL, which, like rival Hisense, is also a big manufacturer of television sets and panels for TVs and mobile phones, is headquartered in Huizhou, just north of Hong Kong.
Its first big smartphone foray under the TCL brand in South Africa is with the TCL 20 R G, which costs R3 899 in retail. Available only through MTN, Wittmann said the phone is the cheapest 5G-capable smartphone available in South Africa.
TCL intends to evolve its offerings further in South Africa in time but chose to launch with the 20 R 5G as a statement of intent. “We are starting small, and building brand equity,” Wittman said.
TCL already offers personal Wi-Fi devices and “consumer premises equipment” (routers, typically) in the South African market.
Globally, TCL sells about 35 phone models, everything from the entry level, moving up to the US$400 mid-tier price point. The phones, which typically run lower-cost MediaTek chips, appeal to budget-conscious consumers.
Meanwhile, the multimedia side of TCL’s business is also focused on increasing its market share in South Africa.
This week, it launched its new C-series Google-powered TVs locally, with its “hero product” 4K mini-LED C835 available in sizes up to 98 inches. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media