Chinese smartphone giant Tecno is dominating the African market with $40 phones


Transsion built its business in Africa. And it has no plans to come home.

In Edna Mall on the bustling Bole Road in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Mesert Baru poses for her Tecno Camon i. “This phone is seriously nice for selfies,” says the 35-year-old shop assistant, admiring the picture she just took.

Mesert’s satisfaction is no accident. Tecno cameras have been optimized for African complexions, explains Arif Chowdhury, vice president of Transsion. “Our cameras adjust more light for darker skin, so the photograph is more beautiful,” he says. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve become successful.”

A Tecno user in Ethiopia using her smartphone.

Transsion founder George Zhu had spent nearly a decade traveling Africa as head of sales for another mobile phone company when he realized that selling Africans handsets made for developed…

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