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SAMSUNG BOSS SPEAKS ON CHALLENGES OF ELECTRONICS BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

the of Mr Sunil Gumpta Regional Product Manager, Digital Appliances and Mr. Chaun Paul Reddiar, Regional Product Manager, senior executives of Samsung were at Samsung African Forum 2017, held in Cape Town recently, They spoke on the latest Samsung products most of which are billed for launch in June 2017 as well as some of the challenges in the Nigerian market. According to Gupta, his vision for the African continent is to bring Samsung products to every home. He said most of its products are on the premium side may well be above the income of most households. As he put it, “I did a little survey and came up with what individual countries would want. And that is why we have the one-door, two-door refrigerator and now the four-door premium refrigerator. We have given a wide range of product for the African market at different prices. We have given Nigeria a 250-litre to 620-litre refrigerators.” iiiThe products range from QLED TV, Windless airconditioners, Premium refrigerators to macro wave ovens, among many others. On whether Nigeria is ready for such
products considering the current exchange rates, Raddier expressed optimism that Nigerians love to have the
opportunity to experience the latest technologies, and count themselves among the users of such technologies in
the world. “We are quite confident that QLED will appeal to Nigerian consumers. Though most markets across the globe are
experiencing exchange rate fluctuations and that is not a new phenomenon; it does not necessarily translate to consumers not wanting to experience new technologies.” Sunil, on the other hand, said the exchange rate was an internal problem that is beyond his company’s control. He, however said, “There is fluctuation in the market because internationally, Nigeria is buying in dollars, and I believe the exchange rate is playing a vital role in the drop. Raddier stated Samsung’s distribution efficiency is not affected by the fluctuations in the exchange rates across the continent, adding, “It will not affect us in terms of innovation because we are the market leaders and we pride ourselves on developing new products with the latest
technologies.” On the challenges of running a huge business concern such as Samsung on the continent, Sunil noted that each African country has its peculiar challenges leading to growth. But, he, however, said Nigeria is very close to their
heart, adding, “It was the largest, now the second largest economy in Africa. So obviously, when you have a problem coming from the largest economy, then you have to tackle it first. My priority is that products should last long. We are constantly upgrading to make it more durable. “We have specific products for African markets. For example, the windless air-conditioner that is built specifically for tropical weather conditions. Most of the development is happening due to age group, but we are not bothered about that. I am not sure by what percentage the age group is impacting, as I don’t have the right figure, but our engineers are working on the survey.” Responding to how Samsung can help speed up digitization in Nigeria, Raddier said, “I don’t know if we are the right people to do that but that is based on your government and their intentions or timeline for the roll out of DTT and we will conform to that.” On how Samsung would ensure that the products cut across all tiers of income groups, he said there were different sizes of the QLED products. However, “If you are talking about cutting across the entire product range with that, it is possible but also based on demand. If your country has the demand for that product, we are capable of delivering that. “We don’t make products for a particular country but the entire continent of Africa and we have other categories. We have products like the windless air-conditioners built for the climate condition in Africa. While reacting to whether the company has the intention to assemble some of its products in Nigeria since it is one of its biggest markets, Raddier noted, “We are in constant communication with our partners and local governments with regards to community social responsibility projects in Nigeria and across Africa, but I don’t have any information with regards to that.” Raddier said Africa’s reception to latest technologies was commendable, adding, “It will be very difficult to say which country is number one market as all the countries embrace the technologies. Also, as more and more people use the Internet, the range grows as well.” He said Samsung was aware of the overwhelming competition in the African markets, “but we will continue to offer the latest innovative technology that is available.”When asked on the per centage shares Samsung lost to Galaxy Note 7, and if it was true that the company was trying to refurbish some of the features and sell in the margin market, Sunil simply replied, “I don’t have an answer to the first question but with regards to the second, there was a press release on Samsung side recently, that it was just a rumour, because the Asian market has very strict rules of selling products and as a company, we always respect each country’s rules and regulations.”

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