BEE firm Nkgwete challenges incumbents in SA’s PC market

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 23 Aug 2023
One Technologies’ hardware products are locally designed, globally sourced and nationally serviced by Nkgwete.
One Technologies’ hardware products are locally designed, globally sourced and nationally serviced by Nkgwete.

One Technologies, a locally designed and globally sourced laptop brand, has launched in South Africa to take on established players in the market.

The laptop brand was launched earlier this month in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga.

One Technologies is a company in the Nkgwete Group, which is based in Emalahleni. The company calls its range of laptop devices One Technologies.

The company was co-founded by Siddika Osman, who is CEO, and Sagaren Kanniappen, chief operations officer.

Osman is the company’s primary shareholder. With more than 25 years’ experience in the ICT sector, including with firms such as Transnet IT, arivia.kom and T-Systems, she is an award-winning IT professional, having won the inaugural Africa Tech Woman of the Year Award in 2019.

Kanniappen has more than 20 years’ experience in the ICT industry, spanning organisations such as Eskom, arivia.kom and T-Systems.

One Technologies’ hardware products are locally designed, globally sourced and nationally serviced by Nkgwete, which has a countrywide presence and supports more than 30 000 computers across South Africa.

Nkgwete IT Solutions provides software support and hardware repair services for One Technologies.

The locally designed One Technologies laptop components are sourced from China, Osman tells ITWeb via e-mail.

“The name was intentionally chosen,as our vision is to make technology accessible to everyone. There is no localfactory, it is globally sourced. However, we employ local people for sales,support and marketing. I wanted to create a company that made a difference. Itis about helping to build a better tomorrow for our beautiful country and itspeople.”

According to Osman, the company has 120 employees, is 60% female-owned and takes in 20 interns per year.

Unlocking potential

Osman explains that the entry model laptop starts at R11 500 and the top of the range goes up to R16 000.

There are three offerings in the One Technologies laptop range: Easy Access, All Rounder and Powerhouse.

Specs for One Technologies All-Rounder:

Processor: i5 − 1235U
Processor frequency: 1.3GHz up to 4.4GHz
Memory: 16GB DDR4-3200 SODIMM
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch FHD (1 920 x 1 080p)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 8GB shared

“As CEO, I grappled with how we could compete with international tech players to achieve our vision of unlocking South Africa’s potential through technology.

“It is from this that the idea of One Technologies was born. We have now sourced hardware at highly-competitive prices, which means we can unlock the potential of the people of Mzansi by making reliable tech accessible, affordable and available to all.”

One Technologies’ entrance into the space comes as the global PC market remains constrained.

Market analyst firm IDC notes that weak demand, excess inventory and a worsening macro-economic climate were all contributing factors for the precipitous drop in shipments of traditional PCs during the first quarter of 2023.

It notes that global shipments numbered 56.9 million, marking a contraction of 29% compared to the same quarter in 2022.

With 22.8% market share, Lenovo is the largest PC vendor globally, followed by HP (19.7%), Dell (17.1%) and Apple (8.6%), says IDC.

While the PC market is on the decline, Osman is buoyant about One Technologies’ chances in the South African market.

“Our laptops are very competitively priced. We do not compromise on quality of components, as the laptops are made in an Intel-certified factory and have superior quality components and finish,” she says.

“With every laptop purchased, you receive a support voucher for six hours. The support can be telephonic support, or walk-in to our tech lounge support areas. This is included in the purchase price. All laptops have a 12-month warranty.”

Statista says revenue in the South African PC market is projected to reach $1.4 billion in 2023. It notes laptops dominate the market, with a projected market volume of $700 million in 2023.

Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2026) of 2.78%, resulting in a market volume of $1.5 billion by 2026.

Sagaren Kanniappen and Siddika Osman, co-founders of Nkgwete IT Solutions.
Sagaren Kanniappen and Siddika Osman, co-founders of Nkgwete IT Solutions.

“The response at the launch was very positive, and the market is delighted to see a South African laptop brand started by a female techpreneur,” Osman states.

“I believe there is huge potential in South Africa that is untapped due to lack of access to technology, training and after-sales support. That is where we come in.”

She adds that One Technologies’ laptops are customisable for medium to large organisations.

“We offer co-branding, so corporates can have their logo on the laptop lid. We also offer asset tracking pre-installed for corporates to assist with asset management.”

Describing the company’s go-to-market strategy, Osman says there is a three-pronged approach.

“In phase one, we are selling on a business-to-business basis. Right now, our efforts are focused on corporate and government entities. Phase two will be e-commerce via our e-commerce site and major South African e-commerce sites like Takealot. Phase three will be direct retail and through distributors.

“As CEO, I firmly believe there is a huge market for a competitively-priced laptop with bundled services that are accessible to everyone. We have developed a model that will make this possible.”