Technology:Dumping Europe For China.

Chinese telecoms hardware and network makers are biting off bigger chunks of African business and will soon overthrow hitherto dominant European vendors in a region with mouth wateringly low penetration rates.While in the past they might have brought unreliable technology and a handbook only in Chinese, the firms are leveraging on a pool of skilled labour and government loans to dislodge traditional vendors.”It is not good news for the traditional vendors,” says Dobek Pater, telecoms analyst and partner at research firm Africa Analysis.

China’s main telecoms gear makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE are rapidly taking business from European vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Network and Alcatel-Lucent.Chinese vendors’ initial market entry strategy was hinged on low priced offerings, often to state-run operators, but the companies have reinvented themselves by throwing billions of dollars into research and development and are now often ahead of the curve with new technologies.

Stringent testing by global operators such as Vodafone has seen the Chinese vendors become the approved suppliers of almost all core, access and transmission infrastructure in Africa.Analysts say Chinese vendors are also willing to bend the rules to provide more cost-effective solutions for emerging markets.”Chinese vendors have mastered doing business in Africa , if we can put it that way”.In the broadband USB modem market where Huawei and ZTE head the pack in many African countries and where analysts see some of the choicest opportunities.Africa had a mobile penetration rate of only 41 percent, compared with 76 percent globally, while the broadband penetration rate on the continent was negligible, statistics from the U.N. agency International Telecommunication Union.As long as the Chinese vendors continue to provide quality, competitively priced equipment that is set up in a relatively short period of time, they will continue be the suppliers of choice.


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