China’s Transsion Holdings, one of the world’s top five smartphone makers, continues to grow globally, with its market share approaching that of major Chinese manufacturer Oppo, on the back of a strong showing in Africa and South Asia.
Transsion’s shipments rose 35%, year-on-year, to 26 million units in the three months ended September, with its global market share reaching 8.6%, maintaining the No. 5 position it earned in the April to June period and narrowing the gap with Oppo, at 8.9%, according to US research specialist IDC.
Transsion is benefiting from a sharp recovery in smartphone demand after declines in sales and profit for the year through December 2022, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the nine months through September this year, its sales rose 20%, year-on-year, to RMB 43 billion (USD 5.8 billion) and its net profit jumped 70% to RMV 3.8 billion (USD 535 million).
At a Belt and Road Initiative event in Beijing last month, Transsion’s President and Chairman Zhu Zhaojiang, said the company will “uncover the driving force behind Africa’s economic growth.” He signed a memorandum of understanding with a representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa focused on promoting digitization of the continent.
Zhou founded Transsion’s predecessor company in 2006 in Shenzhen, in China’s southern province of Guangdong, and established Transsion in 2013. From the start, his company focused on emerging markets such as Africa and the Middle East rather than competing with existing smartphone giants at home. His company is known as one of the earliest Chinese mobile phone brands to enter Africa.
Transsion, dubbed the “Smartphone King of Africa” thanks to its leading market share on the continent, is also expanding in South Asia and the Middle East. Not only did it secure a 40% share of the African smartphone market in 2022, it was also the leader in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Chinese company has set up factories in Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh, manufacturing and shipping products for local markets.
The company was quick to develop localized technologies for smartphones, for example introducing image processing tailored to users with darker skin tones. Its music app Boomplay and the news app Scooper, which are geared to local markets, each have more than 50 million monthly users.
It has three main brands: Tecno in the mid- to high-price range, Itel in the budget segment and Infinix, which is aimed at younger customers. It has introduced a variety of new products, attracting local consumers.
Transsion has made it clear that it wants to pursue the high-end market as well, launching its first foldable smartphone in February and investing in artificial intelligence technologies.