Wiko is wasting away a great opportunity in Nigeria

Last week and this week, Mobility Arena went out to cop
a feel of Wiko’s new Ufeel range of smartphones. Our
little group went from Pursch to Pointek to Yudala to Slot
to 3C HUB and others. We toured Computer Village, the
largest smartphone market on the continent. Everywhere
we looked, Wiko’s most compelling smartphones were no
where to be found. In many cases, there were no Wiko
phones on display at all.

The French smartphone brand is majority-owned by
Chinese technology group, Tinno Mobile and its phones
are manufactured in China. Wiko entered the Nigerian
market in 2014 with a handful of models. While some of
those early models were uninspiring, in recent times, the
brand has produced a line up of devices that look really
good and have respectable specs.


Remnants Of The Past

At the stores where we found one or two phones on
display, those phones were much older 2014 models
running Android 4 KitKat. Wiko’s exciting looking, new
Ufeel range of smartphones are no where to be found.
Not the Wiko Ufeel Prime, Wiko Ufeel Lite , Wiko Ufeel
Fab nor any of the more recent models were available

We saw on display the Wiko Lenny and one other older
model that escapes my mind now. And only at one store.
That was it for Wiko phones. Note that a slew of newer
models, including the Lenny 2 and Lenny 3, have since
been launched.

The Recession Is Great

Wiko phones appear to offer good value for money at the
bottom and mid sections of the pyramid. These
segments are hot in the Nigerian smartphone market.
Nigeria has always been a price-sensitive market and the
ongoing recession has only made it more so. Brands like
TECNO, Infinix, iTel and Gionee are making a killing of off
this. Even Samsung has made moves to try grab a piece
of the pie. It is sad to see Wiko waste the opportunity.
Getting to have a conversation with Wiko officials has
been harder than squeezing an elephant through the eye
of a needle. There are no telephone numbers listed on
the Wiko Nigeria website. The last time I submitted a
message through the contact form there, I got no
response. As such, we are unable to get Wiko’s side of
this development.

Death Knells?

An attendant at one of the retail stores we visited this
week asked me, “Are you aware that Wiko is dying?” My
response was, “That wouldn’t be a surprise if it is true. At
every store we visited, we met empty Wiko stands.”
I hope that she is wrong and that this is just a temporary
situation that Wiko will quickly rectify.

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