I recently just learnt that OPPO was not officially in Nigeria. This, to me, was strange considering how big Nigeria is as a smartphone market in the continent. I just assumed that all smartphone manufacturers first start with Nigeria before expanding everywhere else, guess I was wrong.
Anyway, OPPO did announce that they have plans to officially launch in Nigeria around March-April. As good as that sounds, OPPO might find it a bit hard to penetrate the West African country thanks to its unique set of problems that it presents to players especially in the smartphone market.
The Name – OPPO
One of the biggest challenges a company can face is negative branding. Not to say that OPPO’s brand has any taint to it but the word “Opo” (which is pronounced the same as OPPO) is used as slang for ‘prostitute’ in Nigeria. The name, Opo, also means ‘widow’ in Yoruba – one of the country’s major languages.
The issue of fake phones is something that OPPO might need to address earlier rather than later. The company needs to find an effective way to differentiate their genuine products from counterfeit ones. Nigeria’s smartphone market has suffered a huge deal thanks to fake phones. Reports indicate that Nigeria has around 250 million fake mobile phones sold in the country every year, a crisis that the government described as a “bad omen”. The biggest source of fake products in the country has been Computer Village in Lagos.
Like Kenya, Nigeria is one very price sensitive market. This is actually the reason that counterfeit phones have thrived so well in the country since they offer lower prices compared to the genuine ones. Admittedly, OPPO smartphones are not exactly what you would consider “cheap”. The competition, the likes of TECNO and Infinix, offer much lower prices for their devices a factor that has contributed to their dominance in the market.
OPPO might need to rethink their pricing model if they are to have a hefty piece of the cake.
Like most emerging markets, Nigeria is heavily saturated by different budget smartphone brands with some brands even not registered by the government. Apparently, as of January 2018, there were over 150 unapproved smartphone models in Nigeria. The main differentiating factor between all these brands has been price, a battle that OPPO is clearly not interested in taking.
“We are one of the leading smartphone brands in the world and quality will be our main strong point,” said OPPO Nigeria’s PR Manager, Joseph Adeola. As per Techpoint Africa, OPPO is looking to leverage its strong brand in international markets to penetrate the Nigerian market, let’s hope this strategy works for them.