Taiwanese tech giant Asus plans to set up it East African hub in Kenya by the in the first half of year as the firm seeks a larger piece of the regional laptop and tablet market.
The Nairobi office will act as Asus hub to drive the sales of its flagship PCs, netbooks, ultrabooks and tablets across the EAC bloc.
“The company has turned focus on Africa and we will use Kenya to gain entry into the Eastern Africa market,” said Shawn Chang, Asus regional director in charge of Turkey, Israel and Africa.
“Kenya is a strategic market for us. It is the region’s biggest economy and offers a big market.”
The entry of Asus into East Africa through Kenya follows a well-established pattern where global firms have been pitching tent in Nairobi as an entry point into the larger regional market.
Global IT multinationals such as Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, LG, Toshiba and Sony have already established their regional liaison offices in Nairobi.
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Asus is currently running its entire African operations from South Africa where it first set foot in 2008. The Nairobi office will be used to chase deals, drive sales and offer after-sales services.
Mr Chang said the firm currently has two distributors in Kenya who also double up as service centres; and 80 dealers countrywide.
“Based on our quality, variety and price point, we hope consumers will enjoy new technology without any difference with other markets.”
In Africa, Asus is present in Kenya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria and South Africa. It is eying Tanzania, Angola and Libya in the coming year.
It grossed $15.2 billion in revenues last year, and is eying new markets to grow sales to $19.1 billion by the end of this year.
The Taipei-based company is targeting the growing tech savvy middle class and corporates with its range of touchscreen Windows 8-powered laptops – Zenbook, N and X series; and detachable tablets dubbed Transformer Book, and VivoTab.
Asus also manufactures Android tablets under Google’s nexus brand. It sold more than five million Nexus 7C devices last year.
In February this year, the Asian device maker unveiled the PadFone, a phone-tablet hybrid where the smartphone can dock into the station and seamlessly turn into a tablet.
Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) show that Asus is ranked third in the global tablet market, shipping 2.7 million units in the first quarter of this year.
Asus now has a 5.5 per cent of global market share to trail Apple’s iPad and Samsung; but ahead of Amazon, makers of Kindle e-readers.