Cape Town – Local company Sekoko has started producing smartphones in South Africa in a bid to tap into Africa's booming phone market.
In a partnership with Making Mobile, the company produces smartphones and tablets aimed at the local market and the rest of Africa.
"The facility will be a 24/7 operation with an initial production target of 700 to 750 handsets per day with a staff compliment of 50 employees per shift,” said Daryl Peel, managing director of Making Mobile.
The facility is based in Robertsham, Johannesburg and employs 150 people. Partners invested R15m into setting up the plant and plan to plough another R50m in the first six months of operation.
"The main driver behind launching Sekoko in Africa is to gain further penetration in the use of smartphones through easier access to broadband and affordable smartphones. Africa is one of the youngest markets in the world and presents a huge opportunity in terms of growth," said Dr Tim Tebeila chair of Sekoko holdings.
Africa has over 900 million phone connections, according to data released by Ericsson last year.
The factory has been in the works for months and the semi-knock down operation will tap growing consumer spending in Africa.
"The buying power of the African consumer is on the rise as the continent's middle class increases exponentially. Despite infrastructure challenges, Africa has demonstrated impressive returns and sustainability on foreign direct investments making Africa a preferred destination for capital investment."
Sekoko will initially produce 3G and LTE smartphones with 12.7cm (5 inch) display as well as an 18cm (7 inch) tablet.
Peel told Fin24 that the startup of production was well received and orders are already coming in for devices from the US.
“Today marks an important milestone as the pieces start to fall into place, not only for Sekoko in South Africa, but for the whole ICT industry, which is receiving a much needed boost toward industrialisation and the development of this industry,” said Tebeila.
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