ZTE tempts SA with cheap smartphones

Cape Town – Chinese electronics maker ZTE is on a mission to gobble up South African market share with the launch of a cheap smartphone range just before the shopping season.

The company has announced the launch of three smartphones in South Africa targeting customers who want devices at lower price points.

The Android-powered Blade V6 has a 12.7cm (5 inch) display and comes with a 13 megapixel (MP) main camera. It’s got a 1.3GHz quad core processor mated to 1GB of RAM.

ZTE also launched the Blade L3 with similar processor and RAM specs but with only a 2MP main camera though the selfie shooter is rated at 5MP – similar to the V6.

The iPhone-esque V6 is available from Cell C for R219 on an Epic 100 contract and the L3 is available from Vodacom for R1 499 on prepaid.

Lower price wins

“We believe that value for money is what South African consumers are looking for. The trend is definitely toward premium looking smartphones packed with practical features at an affordable price,” Michelle Moolman, ZTE SA Terminal sales director, told Fin24.

READ: Cheaper smartphones 'match' high-end devices

The company will also launch a V6 lite for R149 per month on a Cell C contract in December.

According to market tracker the International Data Corporation (IDC), ZTE doubled its South African market to 6.1% in 2015, though the company lags market leader Samsung at 45.2%.

IDC data shows that smartphones in the lower price brackets enjoy healthier sales that pricey gadgets.

ZTE is actively targeting price as a strategy to gain market share in SA and the company is on a charge after announcing that profit is up 42% for the first nine months of the year.

“Given our experience, we can say that the current sweet spot in terms of price and target market is the lower LSM (living standard measurement), priced between R499 to R699,” said Moolman.

ZTE is looking to grow its brand’s footprint outside of China where it competes with Huawei and Xiaomi. The strategy is key to fighting for global brand growth.

"Vendors looking to grow their performance in the global smartphone market will be challenged to quickly enhance their expansion into emerging markets outside of China, where we still witness a sizeable share of feature phones and an opportunity for double-digit smartphone growth," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

Is the price of premium smartphones justified? Let us know.

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