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TMCNet:  Jimin - Smartphones Will Drive Big Data Market in Nigeria [interview]

[September 12, 2013]

Jimin - Smartphones Will Drive Big Data Market in Nigeria [interview]

(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Managing Director, Huawei Nigeria, Mr. Pang Jimin, spoke with Emma Okonji on the company's latest smartphone technology and how smartphones will enhance big data penetration in the Nigerian market. Excerpts: Today mobile phone manufacturers have shifted from feature phones to smartphones. In this era of big data evolution and penetration, how will smartphones help to drive the big data market in Nigeria? Smartphone is a phone designed to drive the big data in all markets, including that of Nigeria. Before the emergence of smartphones, manufacturers were not making much money from mobile phones, because the mobile phones then, were driving little proportion of the software applications market. But with the introduction of smartphones some years back, it was discovered that the smartphones have the capabilities to drive several applications and the phone became useful in doing several other things aside making and receiving calls, and sending of text messages. As a result of its multipurpose functions, the smartphones became more popular in the last three years as the demand kept increasing.


Today, it is seen as the mobile device that is driving the big data market more than any other device. More and more people, including professionals and chief executive officers of small and big organisations now go for the smartphone because of its multipurpose functions, that are supporting several applications, and which enables people to work while on the move.

Do you see smartphones taking over personal computers (PC) and the laptops markets in the nearest future? That smartphones will soon take over PC and Laptops markets is absolutely correct, and it is already playing out. For me and other managing directors and chief executives, we use our smartphone devices more than we use the PC and laptops. This is so because the smartphone supports several applications that enables it to perform several functions, including that of the PC and laptops. While on the move, it is more convenient for us to use the smartphone. With the smartphone, you can browse the internet, download information, type documents and do several things because the smartphone technology supports several applications. So I see it as the future device for driving several software applications for the big data market.

Where do you place Huawei in the hierarchy of smartphone manufacturers in the next few years? Our desire is to be among the top three brands in smartphone manufacturing in the next few years, and going by our innovativeness , I am convinced that we will get there sooner than expected.

We have launched the Ascend P6 smartphone in over 70 countries of the world and people are in love with the phone. People queue to buy Ascend P6 because they have discovered it is the smartphone to use in today's world for business and for pleasure.

What are your strategies to attain and maintain the position of the top three in global smartphone manufacturing ranking? There are lots of smartphones in the Nigerian telecoms market and in the global telecoms markets, but these come with different features. For us at Huawei, our strategy is to develop smartphones with best features quality that will outsmart the features of other brands of smartphones. At the same time, we want our smartphones to be very affordable, while still retaining the best of quality. So these are some of our strategies and they are already playing out well for us.

We have proved ourselves as the best vendor in telecoms support services in Nigeria, by becoming the largest supplier and supporter of telecoms services in Nigeria, and we hope to replicate that in our smartphone business. We have a very strong research and development unit, investing in modern research and this is also helping us to achieve our dreams.

Huawei has been in Nigeria for close to 14 years now. What is your contribution to the growth of the Nigerian economy? We have been on ground for quite some years, doing business in Nigeria and we have, in the process of doing our business, contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian economy. We are one of the few telecoms equipment vendors that have invested heavily in the Nigerian economy. We have built a demonstration hall in Nigeria, where we introduce people and train people in telecoms business. We have a training centre in Abuja, where we have so far trained over 5,000 Nigerians in telecommunications technology. We also have a network operator centre in Nigeria, where telecoms operators get technical support to boost their telecoms business.

Huawei Nigeria has a strong commitment to its Nigerian customers to enrich life through communication. After 14 years of development in Nigeria, Huawei has received an excellent response from the market and aims to expand its investments in the coming years. It sets up strategic alliances with local powerful partners and secures win-win business partnership. Innovative solutions and dedicated innovation on customers' needs, significantly bring true values to the customers. Huawei Nigeria currently employs over 1,600 people while about 70 per cent of them are locally recruited. Over 6,000 job opportunities have been created for Huawei business partners.

Having done a lot of businesses in Nigeria, including the recent shift to smartphone manufacturing, do you have plans to build a phone manufacturing and assembling plant in Nigeria? Our interest is always in the markets where we operate and Nigeria has proved to be a major market for our business. We are interested in the Nigerian market and we are willing to build manufacturing and assembling plant in Nigeria, but this will depend largely on the growth in the phone business in Nigeria. Today, we have launched the Huawei Ascend P6 Smartphone and we had also launched some other mobile phones in the market, so the growth of the market will determine the need for the establishment of mobile phone manufacturing and assembling plant in the country.

What is the importance of the Nigerian market to the growth of Huawei business? The Nigerian market is key to our business development and growth. We see it as our biggest market in the whole of the African continent. We have positioned the market as the hub for our West African markets. We have seen the great potential that the market holds for our business and we are prepared to help grow the market and impact on the economy.

What are Huawei's business offerings in Nigeria? Consumer business is one of Huawei's three business groups, offering a range of products that include mobile phones, mobile broadband devices, home devices, clouds, and consumer chipsets. With more than 20 years of rich business expertise in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, an extensive global network, vast global business operations and partners, Huawei Consumer Business Group, through Huawei Device, is dedicated to bringing the latest technology to consumers, offering a world of possibilities and creating extraordinary experiences for people everywhere.

As at the end of 2012, Huawei's products and services were already deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world's population.

What other solutions does Huawei offer in the Nigerian telecoms market? In line with the industry's vision of an All IP network and Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) environment, Huawei offers one of the broadest end-to-end product portfolios and solutions in wireless technology rollout like the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Long Term Evolution Technology (LTE), and the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology. It also offers core network in Mobile Soft Switch, Packet Switch, Signalling Network, Software Solutions, Enterprise Solution, Digital Music, Network Access and Security, Terminals of Smartphones, Dongles, and Home Terminals.

Huawei is serving operators such as MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat, among others. In 2004, Huawei established the West African telecoms technology training centre in Nigeria. So far the training centre has trained more than 5,000 telecommunication engineers, contributing to the development of telecom talents for Nigeria.

As more and more operators entrust solution providers to manage their networks, Huawei has established a regional network operations centre (RNOC) in Lagos. The RNOC is capable of maintaining all networks managed by Huawei in Africa. This will create lots of job opportunities for Nigerians and develop large number of telecoms experts.

What role is Huawei playing in bridging digital divide? Huawei is already playing significant roles in bridging the 'Digital Divide' through education. It offers university scholarship in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). At the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Huawei had since 2012, supported talented students in ICT related fields. Huawei also donated two school buses to a college and a secondary school in Lagos recently.

Huawei just launched the world's slimmest smartphone for the Nigerian market. What triggered the motivation for this kind of design? We were moved to design and produce the world's slimmest smartphone of 6.18 mm for the Nigerian market because we had long understood that the Nigerian people love good things and are passionate about elegance and aesthetics. For us in Huawei, we are involved with a lot of research in order to come up with new designs and solutions for the market.

What category of consumers are you targeting with the new smartphone? Our new smartphone called the Ascend P6, is a target for all categories of phone users. Nigerian mobile consumers love good things with aesthetic flavour that are different from the crowd, and the passion cuts across all categories of mobile phone users. So the new Ascend P6 is targeted at the youths, aged, professionals and the business men and women. The phone can be comparable to high-end phones of other brands and can be best described as a lovely piece for all mobile phone users.

How affordable is the phone? The Ascend P6 comes with good pricing that is pocket friendly, which makes it affordable.

What are some of the features of Ascend P6 Smartphone? The phone comes with 1.5 GHZ quad-core processor and a sleek metallic body. It has high definition in-cell display, 5 mega pixel front-facing camera, with easy to use software applications. The Huawei Ascend P6 is slim and small, operating on the Android 4.2 operating system, 2000mAh battery, 4.7 inch high definition in-cell liquid crystal display (LCD) screen technology and a magic touch for enhanced responsiveness. As the flagship smartphone of the Huawei Ascend P series, the Huawei Ascend P6 embodies a cutting edge design for the fashion conscious. The smartphone's brushed metallic look with a naturally curved base is both elegant and intuitive. Ascend P6 balances fashionable features and user-friendly functions.

How will you predict the acceptance level of Ascend P6 in the market place? The product comes with elegance and it is attractive to the eyes, coupled with its unique features, and it is already getting the attention of phone lovers. 24 hours after it was launched in Nigeria, we did market activation at the Ikeja Shopping Mall in Lagos, and the product was an attraction to all eyes, as customers were jostling to have a glimpse and making enquiries. Our Marketing Director, Yolanda Zhang who led a team of promoters to the mall for the market activation of the phone, confirmed it and noted that the product had sold over 100 copies within four hours of activation.

Bio Data of Mr. Pang Jimin Pang is a senior executive in the telecoms industry, who has accumulated deep experience in the African telecoms market. With his proven expertise in operator business management, marketing and channel development, he is strengthening the growth of Huawei's three core business groups (operator business, enterprise business and terminal business) in Nigeria.

He has worked in Huawei Africa for many years and he considers Nigeria as one of the most important markets for Huawei. He is looking forward to working with the Huawei Nigerian team to focus on customers' needs and sharing the business success with all stakeholders.

Copyright This Day. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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