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Meizu

Meizu in South Africa: what to expect from Chinese brand?

Meizu isn’t the most well-known smartphone brand, but it’s definitely one of the more interesting players in the market.

Alongside Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo, Meizu is one of the most popular and respected manufacturers in China, earning a reputation in the Far East for (surprise) well-designed handsets at a solid price.

So we’re glad to hear that the company has come to South Africa, in the form of an online store and being officially represented by 2C Telecoms. We conducted a Q&A with Ferdi van Niekerk Jr, national sales director for Meizu Mobile South Africa.

Van Niekerk confirmed that 2C Telecoms was the official partner of Meizu in SA, but that its main focus was on consumer-premises equipment (CPE) such as ADSL routers and cordless phones.

“In the last couple of years with Telkom restructuring, we have been forced to look at diversifying our business, thus the Meizu opportunity came about,” he wrote.

Meizu Pro 6

Meizu was initially positioned as a niche offering, the representative said, only being available online. However, he says that the firm is now targeting the mass market, focusing on emerging markets such as India and, now, South Africa.

Meizu’s local offering will be online-only for now, van Niekerk said, but added that they are in negotiations with various retailers and cellular networks.

It’s not the first Chinese brand to hit the country, as Huawei and Xiaomi find varying levels of success in the market.

“We definitely view Xiaomi and Huawei as our direct competitors. Both brands have seemed to gain quite a local following, especially Huawei with their aggressive marketing,” van Niekerk elaborates.

“We see this as proof that the South African consumer is starting to trust in the Chinese brands and we believe its a perfect time to enter the market with the Meizu offerings. And we have used Xiaomi and Huawei as sort of ‘guinea pigs’ in our planning and strategy ahead to bring high quality, high-spec handsets at affordable pricing to the South African consumer.”

As for marketshare targets, van Niekerk said their initial goal was 1%, “which is quite low but with our emerging strategy we believe we can achieve this easily in 2017”.

Meizu Mobile SA is also planning to bring devices like the powerful Pro 6 Plus to the country

Meizu smartphones are also supported by WeFix, being the official repair partner for the brand in SA. Van Niekerk elaborated on the decision.

“We needed to partner with a reputable brand that we know our customer will trust, once again I believe there is still a stigma attached to Chinese brands being unreliable, this is certainly not the case with Meizu, however we believe partnering with WeFix will help crush this stigma and put the customers mind at ease when purchasing a Meizu knowing that it will be fully supported by WeFix.

Samsung and Huawei both offer at least one free screen repair, but Meizu is taking a different approach at first.

“With regards to the free screen repairs, we currently don’t offer a free screen replacement on the current models (M3 Note and Pro 6), however it is on the cards for 2017 for the new models we plan on launching,” the sales director responded.

Meizu Pro 6 Plus

Speaking of new models, can we expect devices like the Pro 6 Plus (featuring the same Exynos chip as the Galaxy S7) and others in SA?

“Definitely, the South African consumer will notice a short delay in new models coming to South Africa as the international version usually only becomes available about a month or two after the official Chinese launch. Our road map for 2017 will definitely include the Pro 6 Plus as well as the M5 Note and the M5,” van Niekerk explained, adding that more details would be shared at a later stage.

ZTE is another Chinese firm planning a big push, with its high-end Axon devices poised to hit South Africa this month and early next year.

“ZTE has always, by the looks of it, played in the lower LSM space and once again I am happy to see that they are bringing in a more high end device. This just confirms our market research that the customers are starting to look at devices that gives them the same design quality and performance that you would expect from Apple or Samsung but at a more affordable pricing point,” the representative said of the other rival.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More