Former Apple CEO to launch mobile phone brand in Kenya


By Standard Reporter | Updated Friday, January 16th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3

NAIROBI: Obi Mobiles, the new smartphone brand co-founded by veteran marketer and former Apple CEO John Sculley, is preparing to launch in Kenya and other countries in East Africa.

A new entrant in the consumer technology sector, Obi Mobiles is a venture of Sculley’s Toronto-based Investment and Acquisition Company, Inflexionpoint.

The firm has signed on DESPEC, an IT distributor as its exclusive channel partner in the region. It’s set to roll out a line-up of Obi devices suited to consumers in the region in the first quarter of this year, with an aim of capturing 5 per cent market share by the end of this year.

The brand, which marked its global launch in India, followed by the Middle East markets last year and aims to attract the growing segment of young and trendy smartphone users, confirmed that Kenya is an important market in its rapid global expansion strategy. “Our the vision is to use Obi’s success in each new market to create an international brand, especially targeted at the feature-rich and trendy smartphone segment,” said Sculley, co-founder and managing partner at Inflexionpoint.

Having launched in India and the Middle East, with a better-than-anticipated response, has helped us set the pace for the Obi expansion blueprint, and now we are expanding our strategy of effective brand building and marketing for superior mobile devices in other regions,” he stated.

The African markets present a huge opportunity for new smartphone devices, with a growing population of technology- and fashion-savvy youth. Our analysis has revealed that consumers today are more likely to switch brands as long as they have sufficient incentive.

Sculley is an internationally renowned marketing expert, entrepreneur and investor in high-tech star-tups. He was vice-president (1970–1977) and President of PepsiCo (1977–1983), until he became CEO of Apple in 1983.

He held that position till 1993 and, under his management, annual sales at Apple increased from $800 million to $8 billion. Amit Rupchandani, managing director for the Middle East and Africa region at Obi Mobiles, added that while the mobile industry is often associated with highly expensive products sold using technical jargon, at Obi Mobiles the belief is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

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