FLASHBACK President Rupiah Banda talks to workers at the Mobile Telecommunications mobile telephone assembly plant in Lusaka

ZAMBIA’S mobile phone assembling plant, M-mobile Telecommunications, (M-Tech) Limited says the increasing number of imported mobile phones on the market has impacted negatively on the firm’s growth.

M-Tech chairperson Mohamed Seedat said the firm has since 2009 faced stiff competition due to the influx of phones being imported cheaply.

“Business has not been favourable, because of the stiff competition from the phones being dumped on the market from China which are heavily subsided. This has resulted in us failing to fully penetrate the local market,” he said.

M-Tech mobile handsets with double sim cards cost K150,000 while those with a single sim card cost K140,000 but the market is awash with cheaper handsets with some costing as less as K50,000.

The US$10 million mobile phone assembling plant was set up in 2009 to provide affordable mobile phones to the public and to enhance economic development through employment creation.

Mr Seedat said this in an interview in Lusaka recently.

He said there is need for Government to come up with policies that will protect the local industries.

Mr Seedat said Government should introduce a system to register all phones coming into the country because most of the handsets are allegedly being imported duty-free.

He said reducing the cost of production will also enable local products compete favourably with imported products.

Mr Seedat said plans to export mobile phones to countries within the southern region are on hold because like Zambia, the countries have not been spared from the influx of heavily subsided mobile phones.

He, however, said the firm is committed to grow and contribute to the country’s economy adding that the company is negotiating with local mobile service providers on possibilities to partner in business.

M-Tech has since 2009, produced 12,000 single and dual -sim phones. “M-Tech plans to produce about 5,000 phones by the end of this year and plans are also underway to produce triple-sim phones,” he said.

[Zambia Daily Mail]

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Imwe Ba guy compete or close your company why should Government spend billions of kwacha cumming up with a solution to protect your 1billion Kwacha industry. Your company imports parts from china anyway its not like you are manufacturing anything. The Zambian people are just cutting out the middle man

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    • So that your brothers and sisters in Zambia can get skilled employment think before you comment..ati compete or close!!

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  2. i guess you are in wrong place bwana.imported goods are Zambians favorite gadgets. at the moment the only way way to go for you is maybe partnering with our local service providers who will be wary of the cost of your phones also. ZTE, ITEL,’ 2COM’ and TECHNO have grown roots in our service providers and you must beat their prices to progress…wish you well

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  3. It is a reason for concern if the imported phones are coming in duty free. They should be charged an import duty but no more than that charged normally on products imported as we do not want a special tax just protect one mobile phone manufacturer. That will just attract retaliation from our trading partners whom we export other products to as they will impose prohibitive taxes also to protect their local products. What government can instead look at, which I believe they are already doing is reducing the cost of doing business in Zambia so that the price of the end product can be competitive.
    Another thing, in this day and age a triple simcard phone should be so unnecessary. Inter-network tariffs should be harmonised – a possible area for govt intervention?

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  4. T-Mobile that is what we call competition in business just make your product attractive and strong and with proper marketing you will sale more than Chinese phones which are very cheap and expensive to maintain.

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  5. i agree with # 1 Pa zed, those M Tech phones are of low quality just like the chinese phones. how does the number of sim cards you put in a phone help lol, he is a joker. put ten sim cards if you want. this is just some india guy who thinks zambians can taken for a ride. if you have serious techno development and developers you hould have no problem. zambian people like quality too mr seedat.
     on a business note try to go into tablet pcs, thats the way to go before the market is flooded.

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  6. Hmmmmm….. never mind inflation.

    Struggling business + excessive wage demands = closure.

    (and I’m not just talking about phones…. this minimum wage thing really has to be done right, probably with advice from economists)

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  7. I just had a look at your website and product offering, start producing touch screens with 3G capability and you are home and dry, it’s all about connectivity and social networking on the net baba. Change your business strategy period. Just had another look just to confirm….. koma you guys are behind.. poliphonic ringtones my gosh!!! upgrade your product offering.

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  8. The reason you are losing is that you are not giving people an alternative to the top brands which the Chinese are doing, they have an alternative for the iphone, blackberry etc.. like i said change your product offering come up with an alternative it’s really that simple!!!!

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  9. This what you get when consulting wrong people before investing. Your market research was POORLY done. Zambian population is small and hence less people with disposable income. And who told you that the very few Zambians who can afford will buy your CHEAP QUALITY product? 

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  10. What is this guy saying? Does Seedat live under a rock? The answer is if you cant compete, then you dont understand the business you are into—- find other things to do. My advice is open a shop in Kamwala and start importing cheaper phones from India.

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  11. First and foremost,this was already a foolish idea to put in so much money in without proper research unless the attempt was to launder dirty money!
    1.You import your parts duty free and that is already an incentive.
    2.You should strive to improve the quality of your products as people want high class Quality products in Zambia too.
    3.You say the COMESA market is tainted too.Do you want GRZ to intervene there as you are asking for favours (Appears these are James Banda business partners)

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  12. I sympathise with Mr Deedat. Zambia needs the manufacturing industry, if it will have a chance to develop. I am very surprised by the comments against him. Countries without a manufacturing base are going under everywhere. As for assembling, we have to start from somewhere. Even the Chinese started with assembling then went to copying. People need to be skilled first. This company, given a chance, will deliver high powered stuff. We have a culture of short-sightedness in Zambia, that is the problem. We need Zambians manufacturing and retaining or returning the cash to Zed. It will create jobs and free us from the economic enslavement going on.

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    • You have spoken well mufumbwe,how i wish people would think in line with you.Short sightedness=brainless=Lunacy

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  13. This man is a millionaire and has a number of successful businesses, but it’s his failure in the mobile phone sector that actually make me wonder about his business credentials.

    Firstly, as someone above said it rightly, they have to change their product offering. Be more in line with current trends. Facebook and internet capabilities are a must. Touch screen is also the way to go.

    Secondly, ADVERTISING! I have not seen a single billboard, radio advert, TV ad, anything to promote their products. I remember visiting the trade show in Lusaka last year where, while many small time companies had small professional displays, M-Tech had booked a VENDORS stall! Is that stupid or is that stupid? The only time we even remember his company and products is when such articles are published.

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  14. Thirdly, 2 years after opening they are saying they want to partner with network operators. Helllllo? That was supposed to have been one of the first deals you should have signed if you wanted to penetrate the market in all provinces. Once people all over Zambia get to know your phones and trust them, it would be easy to market new models to them.

    F**k it! Just hire me as your business consultant. I can revive your fortunes!

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  15. HAHA # 12 Mufu
    We are not denying the fact that Zambia needs manufacturing but the time of Government protectionism is gone its a global market now. True the government needs to protect industries but only Basic Industries like Agriculture, Steel Production, Food Manufacturing etc not a mobile phone assembly fimofimo!!! I can think of a billion better manufacturing businesses one can invest $10Mill US in and make huge profits in Zed. Assembling mobile phones is not one of them.

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  16. I QUIET AGREE WITH MR MOHAMED SEEDAT THAT THE CHINESE PHONES ARE COMING INTO ZAMBIA WITH OUT IMPORT DUTY SO IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO COMPETE WITH THE CHINESE MOBILEA, CAN . IN 2010 WHEN I WAS IN ZAMBIA I BOUGHT M TEC MOBILE WHICH IS STILL WORKING AND WHILE I WAS IN ZAMBIA DURING THE ELECTIONS THIS YEAR I BOUGHT A CHINESE PHONE FROM AIRTEL IN ARCADE FOR 70,000 BUT AFTER USING IT FOR ABOUT 10 DAYS ONLY IT STOPPED WORKING WHICH MEANS THE CHINESE PHONES ARE OF A VERY LOW QUALITY.ITS TIME THE GOVT LOOK IN TO THIS MATTER SERIOUSLY BEFORE ZAMBIANS LOOSE THEIR JOBS. ,PLZ BAN THE IMPORTED CHINESE TOY MOBILES.

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  17. Improve the quality of your product and many people will to you. And the best company so far making cell phones with two (2) SIM cards is NGM.

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  18. Improve the quality of your product and many people will come to you. And the best company so far making cell phone with two(2) SIM cards is NGM.

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  19. Shocking comments above. While its great to import whatever we desire, the best is to manufacture things ourselves. We must endeavour to make things locally. Benefits: employment for our people, local Zambians acquire manufacturing skills, other industries servicing manufacturing plants flourish etc. More money in people’s pockets. When all you do is import finished products, you gain nothing as a nation. You are just a market for your friends.

    This man has started well, the nation should support him fully. Next, whatever inputs they source outside, someone else may see the opportunity to produce them locally. That’s how countries develop.

    Somebody has to make the phone you use. Let that be your brother, cousin, or uncle in Zambia.

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  20. Engage more salespersons and aggressively advertise. Also offer free repairs of your handsets. You may also want to enter into a deal with Mobile phone service providers.

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  21. Seedat, you should have done your research before running to open a plant. Try Congo next time

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    • Paddy you Idi Ayot! It’s not about supporting him blindly. His phones are expensive, are not moving with the times, and he does not advertise. If he wants our support, he too should show some commitment and passion about changing people’s lives, like ‘ol Steve Jobs did!

      Besides, we already support him. It’s because of him (and him alone) that govt 2 years ago increased duty on phones to 15% from 5%. And you still want us to support him?????

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  22. The ironoy is complaining about chinese imports and yet the same phones that are supposedly made with imported chinese parts. The man is just complaining because his business has been outwitted and he wants to cry foul. I wouldn’t even argue that M tech is a manufacturing company I would say it’s more of an assembly

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  23. No wonder you will never see “Made in Zambia” products again…every mobile phone has imported hardware in it be it iPhone, Blackberry, HTC, Nokia nobody makes everything in-house in one factory.
    Chaps like this should be protected and encouraged at all costs, yes his mobile phone’s user interface,hardware is below par but at least support him. Most people here were born in era when Zambia was an importing nation  (importing everything to ballot papers)…hello its people like him who create skilled  jobs, infrastructure and contribute massively to the economy. Everyone starts from somewhere.

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