Gionee’s mobile division in Nigeria is falling apart. The Chinese mobile manufacturer founded in 2002 grew to become a formidable brand in China, expanding its market to India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Phillppines and Nigeria.
In 2013, the mobile brand grew in popularity in Nigeria, posing a huge threat to Tecno. Gionee’s constant push for innovative smartphones backed by aggressive marketing made the brand a household name.
The company also earned a global recognition for manufacturing the slimmest phone in 2014, the Elife S5.5, although it has been overtaken by Micromax’s Canvas Sliver 5.
During that same year, Gionee got in the media for some shoddy practices. It was accused of delivering smartphones pre-installed with Malwares.
Fast-foward to 2015, the company appears to be struggling especially in Nigeria where other OEM ‘s like Infinix have had an instant impact in Africa’s biggest mobile market.
Infinix and Google had a mega deal that brought in the Infinix Hot 2, an Android One smartphone that has sold in tens of thousands. The same thing cannot be said of Gionee smartphones, though they launch new devices continuously, it appears no one noticed.
The competition is going to be more stiff, as Xiaomi which was recently dethroned as the biggest Mobile Vendor in China by Huawei launches two smartphones in Nigeria at the end of November.
Jumia is also likely to partner with Wileyfox to launch two smartphones in Nigeria before the end of 2015. Wilefox phones are like the hugely successful OnePlus phones running on Cyanogen OS with top-of-the-line specs on-board.
It is not clear what went wrong in the camp of Gionee, but if they choose to remain relevant in Nigeria. They have to “re-study” the market, knowing why brands like Yezz Mobile failed miserably in Nigeria with their completely down-market phones and why emerging brands like InnJoo have suddenly become an instant success.