Kenyan love affair with China's Huawei mobile phones goes

Updated: 2015-03-08 10:39


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NAIROBI - At a mobile phone shop along Moi Avenue in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, dozens of customers queued patiently at the counter waiting to be served. Most of them were to buy a mobile phone.

Among the various kinds of mobile phone displayed here, China's Huawei were quite welcomed by the customers, according to the shop.

"With your $220, you can buy a Huawei Honor T1 or Huawei Ascend G628," said an attendant at the shop.

Huawei's mobile phones sell for $66 to $681 in Kenya.

The mobile phones were eye-catching for their wide-screen (six inches), cameras and other features, said the attendant.

Huawei's mobile phones have been a hit with Kenyans ever since they were introduced into the East African nation in 2010.

They were the best seller in 2011, with Huawei IDEOS, which was sold for $100, taking the crown, according to figures from Safaricom, a leading mobile network operator in Kenya.

The Chinese company says over 100,000 mobile phones were sold in a few months that year.

In addition, Huawei provides services in nearly 20 countries in Sub-Sahara Africa region while ZTE, another Chinese telecom service supplier, provides at least 25 countries in the region with such services.

Servives provided by the two companies take up half of the total market in some countries in the region, according to statistics from the two suppliers.

The phones have become popular because they are affordable for most Kenyans and provide premium features including touch screen, big storage capacity and the function of being a 3G Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to eight devices.

"I once used mobile phones of some other brands, but now I've fallen in love with my Huawei," said Mercy Otieno, a communication assistant in a local NGO.

Otieno owns the Huawei Ascend G628 that she bought at $274 about two years ago.

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