Courting African consumers gets a reinvention of cool
JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) - Samsung Electronics is betting on a top-end refrigerator designed not to lose its cool in Africa as a way into the continent's consumer markets, where there is growing demand for prestige products which meet local needs.
The refrigerator comes with a sticker saying it is "Built for Africa", meaning that while it is basically the same flagship product on sale elsewhere in the world it has been tailored to suit local conditions.
The South Korean firm's strategy is simple, and increasingly followed by a number of multinational firms looking to sell in an expanding African market - lay off the cut-rate goods, launch major products in Africa at the same time as the rest of the world but give them local appeal to build brand allegiance among consumers who are set to move up the income ladder.
"Africa is not a dumping ground for technology. You always have to keep in mind that you are creating your market for the future," said Mr Thierry Boulanger, a director for Samsung at its African headquarters in Johannesburg.