Egypt’s first smartphone maker sees market share rising by 2020

Silicon Industries Corporation currently controls approximately 2.7% of Egypt’s smartphone market. (Reuters pic)

CAIRO: Egypt’s first smartphone maker is looking to capture 17% of the country’s market by 2020, up from 2.7%, its chairman said, as the company aims to tap a sprawling low-income market that has long been priced out of using high-tech phones.

Mohamed Salem said in an interview that Silicon Industries Corporation, was targeting low-income clients in the country, selling about 120,000 handsets since the phone went on sale in February and hopes to double its market by 2020.

“Our target is for exports to reach 60% of our production by 2020,” Salem said, adding the phone was already on sale in the United Arab Emirates, and will be in Kuwait later this week and in Saudi Arabia by the end of July.

“We will expand in Arab markets and in Africa during the coming period,” he added.

Private investors hold 80% of the company, which was set up in September with capital of 150 million pounds (RM34 million), while the remaining 20% is held by the Ministry of Communication.

He said the company, which has pumped some 440 million pounds into developing six types of smartphones, under the brand name Nile X, and a tablet computer, plans to increase its investments to one billion pounds (RM230 million) by 2020.

The company expects losses in 2018, Salem said without giving figures, but added he hoped to move into profit in 2019 as the company, which also produces computer tablets, tries to increase its market share to around 10%.

Salem said about 80% of its sales will target low-income clients with handset prices under US$100 (RM410), while 20% will be aimed at better-off customers.

The company uses a Chinese design of 3G/4G US technology, Salem said, adding that local input was expected to rise to 65% within one year from 45% now. Imported components include batteries, LCD display, and a touch panel.

“Our current market share is 2.7%, and we hope to reach 6% by the end of the year, and 10% in 2019, and around 17% by 2020,” Salem said.

He said the company was targeting 1.2 billion pounds (RM272 million) in sales this year, more than doubling to 2.5 billion pounds (RM566 million) in 2020.