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Lenovo plans new structure for Southern Africa

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 10 June 2015

Lenovo plans to change the way it manages markets in Southern Africa from next month. Responding to a question during a panel discussion at DISTREE Africa, David Caleb, senior manager West, East & Central Africa (WECA) at Lenovo Africa, commented: “From next month Southern Africa will be treated as a separate region on its own by Lenovo - separate from South Africa.”

Celeb continued: “Each country in Africa has unique challenges and characteristics that we have to be aware of. For example, you need to understand that Portuguese is the main language in Angola and Mozambique and adapt and localise accordingly. There are many more examples like this.”

Major vendors have typically combined South Africa and all other countries in the Southern Africa region such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia into a single regional theatre, frequently managed out of South Africa. The growth of technology markets across Southern Africa may encourage more vendors to deploy a more targeted country-by-country approach.

Channel partners from across Africa attended the panel discussion at DISTREE Africa. The question that prompted the response from Caleb asked why vendors did not adopt a more localised and tailored approach to individual markets, taking into account levels of market maturity and conditions in each country.

The panel discussion touched on a wide number of topics and challenges related to vendor-channel relations in African markets.

Caleb added: “Lenovo wants to offer a complete solution for customers and create value for them. One of our key aims is to be more customer-centric in our approach. We also want to engage more closely with e-tailers across the WECA market. We want channel partners that are looking for long-term relationships with us and work with us as we become more customer-focused.”

“The market in Nigeria has been going through a slump, but now it is coming back. In East Africa, we are seeing customers really looking at the value proposition associated with a product - not just looking to buy cheap products,” he added.

“Yes, logistics is still challenging in Africa, but this is due to variations in local taxation and local policy. The complexity is not really about physically moving the product from A to B,” Caleb commented.

Media Partnership

We are pleased to confirm that Channel EMEA is an official Media Partner for all DISTREE events in 2015, including DISTREE Africa.

DISTREE Africa 2015, which takes place from June 10-12th in Nairobi gathers together hundreds of senior executives from the region’s leading ICT & CE e-tailers, retailers and distributors. Readers requiring more information about DISTREE events in 2015 should contact events@channelemea.com.

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