While RIM and BlackBerry have seen a downturn of sales in North America, sales of the smartphones have exploded across Europe, Asia, and Africa. To cater to these growing BlackBerry markets, RIM has started moving new, permanent entities into some of the larger countries. The latest country to get a permanent RIM presence is Nigeria. Read on past the break for more info on what RIM is doing in Nigeria, and across the EMEA region.
Around the world BlackBerry has become synonymous with entrepreneurialism, as much as it has become a tool for social connectivity. In no country is this better demonstrated than Nigeria where BlackBerry® smartphones have seen dramatic adoption over the last few years.
Nigeria is an emerging centre of innovation and commerce in Africa, and according to the GSMA, is the second fastest growing mobile market in the world after China. GfK Retail and Technology (July) shows that BlackBerry is the leading smartphone vendor in Nigeria – and the leading smartphone vendor in South Africa (now for 22 months). Canalys (Q2 2012) indicates RIM is in fact the overall smartphone market leader across the African continent. You can see and hear the BlackBerry love in Nigeria in the video right here.
Following a big week of global news from RIM, I wanted to share some important announcements in Nigeria that underline the importance of this country and the broader African region to RIM’s business. Just hours before the start of BlackBerry® Jam Americas in San Jose on the 25thSeptember, RIM executives Robert Bose, Regional Managing Director for Middle East and Africa and Waldi Wepener, Regional Director for East, West and Central Africa officially announced RIM is opening a permanent entity in Nigeria, expanding RIM’s presence in Africa.
As well as RIM Nigeria PLC, RIM also announced:
- the official opening of the BlackBerry® by SLOT retail store in Lagos’ infamous Computer Village (the first official authentic BlackBerry store in Nigeria), nationwide retail expansion and enhanced customer service
- the BlackBerry Academic Program (with Yaba College of Technology)
- A Lagos Fashion Week app for the fashion savvy young BlackBerry Nigerian audience [which is due to go live in BlackBerry App World next week].
This news follows comments from Thorsten Heins last week that South Africa and Nigeria are priority markets for the launch of BlackBerry 10. The combination of announcements certainly signal the company’s commitment to the future of the mobile/ICT industry in Africa. With a population of 160 million and 8% smartphone penetration, this is a significant week RIM as a market leader in Nigeria, one of the most populous, mobile-hungry countries in the African region.