In a calculated plan to boost its global market share in smartphone business, Research in Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry smartphones has shifted focus to the Africa market.
The sudden change in its marketing strategy, is perceived as a new move to hold firm to the African market, where it hoped to shore-up its market shares in order to cover up for its recent loss of market shares in the North American market.
Explaining the reason for loss of market shares to other smartphone manufacturers in the North American market, RIM said it was due to a major shift from third generation (3G) technology to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology that is currently at play in that market.
RIM has suffered some percentage loss in market shares in North America, but has remained highest selling smartphone devices in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, according to Informa Telecoms research report, which stated that out of the 4 million connected smartphones in Nigeria, 2 million came from BlackBerry smartphones.
RIM said it hoped to have deeper penetrate of the African market through the Nigerian market, which it said remained strategic and attractive to its business.
Announcing its expanded presence in Nigeria through the launch of the first official BlackBerry branded retail store in Lagos, at a world press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, Regional Managing Director for Middle East and Africa at RIM, Mr. Robert Bose said the move marked the expansion of the company’s footprint in Africa from its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said the move underscores RIM’s commitment to its partners and customers in one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets.
“As the leading smartphone provider in Nigeria and in Africa, our customers are our number one priority, so we are very pleased to cement our physical presence with local staff, establish a new legal entity and work with local business partners to expand our retail and customer care across Nigria,” Bose said.
RIM, in association with mobile phone distributor, Slot Nigeria, officially opened the BlackBerry retail store at Slot Nigeria, located inside Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, designed to provide Nigerian customers with a first-class BlackBerry purchasing experience, including free software upgrades from the facility in the Computer Village store.
Regional Director, Middle East and Africa at RIM, Mr. Waldi Wepener said RIM already had over 300 branded retail shops across Nigeria, with plans to establish more. He said the expanded retail footprint and ongoing commitment to enhance customer service, would enable RIM provide software upgrade stations in 60 more retail stores nationwide. “RIM plans to introduce in-warranty repair and after-sales support in retail stores located in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to help customers get best of BlackBerry smartphones.
The BlackBerry smartphone was first launched in Nigeria in 2006 with carrier partners. Today BlackBerry is available in 40 countries across Africa from 90 carrier partners. BlackBerry global users statistics is put at over 56 million as at last count.