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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Chinese cell phones make a hit in Kenya’s rural areas

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Chinese-made cell phones are now wildly popular in Kenya’s rural areas due to their multitude of functions and low cost.

Chinese brands like Fero, X-tigi and Xgm are little known in urban areas like Nairobi, but these low cost feature phones have taken over the countryside. Several Chinese cell phones with a pricetag of 8 to 25 U.S. dollars are affordable to residents in Kenya’s rural areas where incomes in general are low.

Functions like radio, flashlight, camera and the internet make the phones a hit in the countryside because they help local residents enjoy a similar experience as if being in the city, home to more expensive models.

Joseph Shikono, a motorbike taxi rider in western Kenya’s Kakamega district, is the proud owner of a 15-dollar Chinese-made phone.

“With this phone, I access all social media sites,” he said. “This is what I can afford and it is serving me well,” Shikono said.

Like Shikono, a majority of the riders in vast upcountry towns are using similar Chinese-made phones.

“This phone does not consume much time because it does not have many applications like high-end smart phones,” said Beatrice Agutu, a resident of Busia, on the border of Kenya and Uganda.

Agutu added that she charges her phone twice a week as the battery lasts quite long. She also listens to music with it.

Unlike other foreign manufacturers that generally concentrate on high-end phones, Chinese manufactures cover all kinds of segments—low, middle and high-end.

Earnest Manuyo, a business management lecturer at Pioneer Institute in Nairobi, said that the bulk of phone makers have ignored the mass market, comprised of the rural population and urban poor, who live in slums.

“Many Chinese manufacturers have not ignored this segment including those who make expensive phones like Tecno and Oppo,” Manuyo said. “This is a plus for them as they have cemented their dominance in a market least talked about.”

             

 

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