Egypt with the help of China has launched its first locally built Smartphone the ‘Nile X.’
The Smartphone which is designed for the Egyptian consumer was officially presented to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi last week in a lavish ceremony.
The Sisi Administration in a bid to pull investment in the technology sector had thrown its weight behind an Egyptian Silicon Valley in Assiut, deep in the country’s impoverished southern region, to kick start local manufacturing.
The Egyptian firm behind Nile X, SICO has been eyeing a growing consumer base of tech savvy Egyptians armed with a population of over 95 million and mobile phone subscriptions topping 99 million. Only 32% of Egyptians though have smartphone making it a burgeoning market that the firm would like capitalize on through affordable handsets.
Speaking on the development, Mohamed Abel Azim, SICO’s marketing manager said, “We want a revolution in the electronics game in the region.
“We have the capacity to push over 1.8 million units in the first few couple weeks since launching.”
He also revealed that about 55% of the handset is assembled in its factory in Assiut and the rest is manufactured in China.
Nile X which is an Android phone with 4GB ram and a nifty 13-megapixel camera will retail for about $112. Other products will range from around 200 Egyptian pounds ($11) for a basic Smartphone to 4200 Egyptian pounds ($235) for tablets and will be available to Egyptian consumers on Dec. 15.
It is worth knowing that The Egyptian Ministry of Information & Communications Technology invested around 400 million Egyptian pounds ($22.4 million) in the project.
Smartphone use has risen steadily in Egypt as more people go online via their handheld devices.
Sisi’s administration in recent years has been noted for grand national projects such as the expansion of the Suez Canal and the construction of a new administrative capital. The assembly of the local smartphone, of which most components are manufactured in Egypt also fits in a pattern to showcase an active Egyptian economy, one that can continue to lure foreign investors especially Chinese investment.
Abdelazim did not provide any concrete figures for the Chinese company’s investment but said they supported the venture technologically.
China is heavily investing in building Egypt’s new administrative capital and is expected to pump over $8 billion into the still recovering economy.
“We used to manufacture solely in China and have worked with tech firms such as Google, Qualcom, Intel and HP. What we are looking to do is to assemble the motherboards and electronic circuits in our newly built factory”, Abdelazim added.
SICO is looking to expand in Africa with plans to build an East African regional hub in Nairobi and to expand to Mozambique, Nigeria and South Africa. Egypt has a rapidly growing startup ecosystem with fundraising for nascent firms jumping to around 105% last year alone.
“There are strong opportunities for Egypt to be a leading production centre of affordable smartphones in Africa and we want to be part of that change”, he said.
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