BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is planning to launch its recently unveiled low-cost smartphone, the Z3, in Indonesia first, which is definitely a promising market. But the Canadian company can find its greatest opportunity in Africa, which has a growing middle class and a booming population. People in South Africa and Nigeria crave a BlackBerry just like U.S. kids want an iPhone. According to a study conducted by World Wide Worx, 57% of South African college students own a BlackBerry device, reports CNBC.
BlackBerry a status symbol in Africa
According to research firm World Wide Worx, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has increased its market share in South Africa from 18% last year to 23% today. The John Chen-led company has 40% smartphone market share in Nigeria. BlackBerry recently launched its first “official” store on the African continent in Nigeria. More than 29% of survey participants said that they plan to buy a BlackBerry smartphone next year. People, especially college students, prefer BlackBerry because of its free messaging service and low-cost data plans.
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In fact, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is a status symbol for youngsters in Africa. The company can find its big growth opportunity in the continent as spending power of African consumers grows. More than 50% of Africans are less than 19 years old, and the continent’s middle class is flourishing. So, it makes complete sense for BlackBerry to position itself there.
Chinese vendors a threat to BlackBerry
According to Praekelt Foundation, more than 50% of African Internet connections are on mobile. BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s managing director for Africa, Yudi Moodley, said that it represents a sizable opportunity for the company. He said BlackBerry will continue to meet the demand of this rapidly growing market. African continent’s mobile market is estimated to touch 1 billion users by the end of 2015.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) doesn’t break down its Africa revenue. But the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 40.7% or $4.5 billion of its total revenue in 2013. The company has noted that South Africa is one of the largest markets in the EMEA region. Improving international connectivity, falling smartphone prices and rollout of mobile broadband networks are likely to boost the smartphone sales. But a big threat to BlackBerry in Africa is Chinese vendors that sell Android devices at ultra low prices.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) share jumped 1.55% on Thursday to close at $10.49.