HARARE – Samsung Electronics (Samsung) has entered into partnership with Line Products and Services (LPS), confirming the local firm as an official distributor for the global technology company’s products in the country.
The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week.
To kick start their partnership, LPS is set to hold an exhibition for Samsung products in Harare in January next year.
Samsung’s Nelo Neves who is the business leader for Information Technology for southern Africa signed the deal on behalf of the global giant while LPS was represented by its chairman Cleo Mathabire.
Speaking after the signing of the deal, Mathabire said the partnership will see the electronics giant setting up an assembling plant. The plant will result in the creation of jobs for the locals while at the same time ensuring the products are available at a cheaper price.
The Investment of the plant is estimated to cost around 4 million with 60 percent of the funding expected to come from Samsung while LPS will carter for the remaining 40 percent.
“Samsung have signed a deal with us, which will see their kits assembled here in Zimbabwe after a long time of negotiations with them,” said Mathabire.
“The plant we are planning to setup will see a lot of job creation and cheaper products for Zimbabweans even those who survive on a dollar per day,” he said.
Samsung is one of the world leaders in information technology solutions with products such as centralised networking solutions, document management solutions, education solutions and hospitality display solutions.
Samsung is expecting to supply half of the smart phones sold in Africa this year and aims to double these sales on the continent in 2014.
Africa has a growing young population that is increasingly tech-savvy and urbanised. This is attracting foreign sellers of consumer products like smart phones, especially as markets stagnate or shrink in more developed nations.
Although smart phones are gaining popularity across the continent, they are still a novelty. At the end of 2012, sub-Saharan smart phone penetration was four percent, compared with a global average of 17 percent, according to industry body GSMA.
“Samsung this year will ship 50 percent of all the smart phones in Africa,” said Thabiet Allie, head of content and services for Samsung Electronics Africa.
Out of the 100 million or so mobile phones sold in Africa this year, 20 million are smart phones and slightly more than half of those are models made by the South Korean company, he said.
“Next year we are looking at doubling this number and the year after probably doing a substantial increase,” Allie added.
GSMA forecasts smart phones will constitute 20 percent of the Africa market by 2017 as devices priced at below $50 become a reality.
Smart phone use in Zimbabwe is still slightly below the global average, with Samsung being the market leader.