We are still waiting patiently for Google to decide that the South African market is ready for their Pixel handsets. However, that hasn’t stopped Chinese companies such as Vivo taking an interest in selling their wares here.
Vivo will be launching in South Africa despite it not being a be very well known brand in South Africa. According to Vivo, the Chinese company is the fifth largest smartphone brand in the world.
Why Vivo will be launcing in South Africa
Vivo is looking to invest heavily in developing its presence in South Africa and making a strong impact in the mid to low tier smartphone category it specialises in.
Despite being a Chinese company, Vivo has managed to avoid any trouble with US authorities.
As a result, Vivo has an excellent opportunity to compete for market share in South Africa with Huawei continuing to struggle on the back of US sanctions.
According to Hawa Hyath, the South African marketing director, Vivo is active in more than 19 countries around the world. Vivo ranks in the top three in 10 of those locations.
Hyath has formerly held executive roles at both Huawei and Vodacom. Vivo will initially launch with two handsets, the Y11 and Y91C, which are both entry-level smartphones.
Why are Vivo phones making headlines
They are powered by Vivo’s Android-based FunTouch operating system with the Y11 shipping with Android 9 and the Y91C running Android 8.1.
The Vivo handsets will only be available on Vodacom at first though the company is working on deals to launch their phones on South Africa’s other networks.
While the Y11 and Y91C are aimed at the lower end of the market, Vivo is expected to introduce additional handsets in the new year. Excitingly this also includes plans for a 5G phone towards the end of next year which should be priced at around R10000.
Vivo is owned by BBK Electronics, which should be of interest to South African consumers as BBK electronics also owns Oppo, OnePluse and RealMe.
Vivo launch: Date, device cost and retailers
With BBK testing the waters with its Vivo brand and should it be successful, there’s no reason to think we might not see the other BBK brands eventually enter the market. Vivo has positioned itself as a younger funkier brand.
The focus of its handsets is gaming and innovative tech. This is a space that has largely been underserved in South Africa with much more focus being paid to their flagship models by companies like Samsung and Huawei.
The Vivo Y11 and Y91C will launch on 7 December and will be available from Vodacom and select retailers. The Vivo Y11 will retail for R2699 while the Vivo Y91C will be selling for R1899.