New entrant in SA's smartphone market

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 06 Dec 2019

Chinese smartphone brand Vivo Mobile has launched in SA, with plans to go to market from tomorrow.

Vivo will launch two smartphones in the South African market: the Y11 (R2 699) and Y91C (R1 899). The devices will be available on prepaid and contract from Vodacom, Edcon, The Foschini Group, Dion Wired and Game.

Speaking at the official media launch in Melrose Arch this morning, Hawa Hyath, marketing director for Vivo Mobile South Africa, pointed out Vivo is the second largest smartphone brand in the Chinese market and fifth largest worldwide.

Hyath explained that brand culture is positioned around technology and style, and the brand targets tier one market areas and users in the 18- to 40-year-old age group.

“We are very excited to be bringing this technology to South Africa,” noted Hyath. “Vivo is a hugely successful global brand that is known for its innovation and style. With global R&D centres, Vivo is consistently refining their offering to bring consumers the very best phone offering – in our pursuit of perfection.”

Founded in 1995, Vivo has a global footprint of over 200 million users, and is already available in 18 markets across the globe. The company entered the cellphone market in 2011, according to Hyath.

In SA, the smartphone brand enters a saturated market, with brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung already dominating. The Mara Group recently opened its smartphone manufacturing plant in Durban to produce its Mara X and Mara Z phones locally.

Vivo smartphones are already available in Africa in Egypt, but SA is the first postpaid market on the continent, said Hyath.

Explaining the decision to enter the South African market, the marketing director said the company felt now is the right time, especially based on global performance. “We feel Vivo will be well-received in the local market.”

Commenting on competition, she said although Vivo considers itself its own competition, the smartphone brand is benchmarking itself against Samsung. “We are a Chinese brand but aspire for premium leadership in the market.”

The Vivo Y11 features a dual camera, a 13MP main camera, a 2MP depth camera, and 5 000mAh battery life. The Y91C adopts artificial intelligence photo algorithms for its camera to automatically deliver facial enhancements, saving users the trouble of manually adjusting ‘beautification levels’.

A 6.22-inch halo full view display gives the Y91C a further enhanced viewing experience with a screen-to-body ratio of 88.6%. It is fitted with a 4 030mAh battery that works with Vivo’s smart power management system, allowing for longer-lasting endurance.