Samsung brought this year’s Samsung Africa Forum to KICC, Nairobi. The city was literally painted blue. From the hotels where the various journalists from all over Africa were staying, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, to the venue KICC. It was all the blue theme. And the motto was Built for Africa. Various Managing directors, sector heads and Samsung global leads were in town. The event was such a boost to Kenya apart from the no-show by the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. There were all kinds of electronics for display here and Samsung made sure than nothing went wrong except for the wi-fi which was being attended to by Access Kenya personnel and they just screwed up big time. The connection didn’t work. No hating. Just being honest.
There was very high security with admission by invitation only being observed. Four key PR agencies handled the whole event with Gina Din and Blue Print handling it in Kenya while Cerebra and Orange Ink handling it from South Africa. Samsung employees, partners, journalists and distributors were flown from all over Africa and would be in town till 15th May.
Some of the products being launched in Kenya were already being showed elsewhere and so were not new but we got to test them live and see what we should expect. Samsung Galaxy S, Fridges with eco-bubble technology, HD Camcorders, Super thin LED Smart TV (D8000 and D7000 LED TV), SENS Series 9, Twin Fridge, E-Board Solution, 3D TV, Digital Cameras (SH100, ST700, Q10, WB200, and NX series), Galaxy S 2, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and many others impressed. Samsung announced that the pre-orders of Galaxy Tab 10.1 has reached a staggering 3 Million. The device boasts the Super AMOLED Plus screen just as the Galaxy S 2 phone.
Samsung‘s 2011 TVs premium series—above LED D5500 series and PDP D6900—will offer Smart TV features. The Samsung Apps Market already has 400 apps to support the Smart TVs. Only that this TV can really make me anti-social. The Cameras did not fail to impress. Camera SH100, ST700, Q10, WB200, and NX series of cameras all were displayed. Both the Q10 camcorder and the premium camera range deliver Smart Experiences through touch-based user interface called Smart Touch 3.0. This interface gives users the ability to drag, click and control ‘app-style’ icons, and easily flip through photos.
Samsung also showcased the SENS Series 9 Notebook. The laptop which was launched at the CES 2011 event boasts Core i5 processor, Windows 7 OS, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 1366×768 display, Intel HD graphics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, LAN, micro-HDMI, microSD slot, Duralumin (same one used to make aeroplanes) Design, Backlit keyboard and 6-cell battery. You can view more photos from the event here.
Duralumin, used in the external casing of the Series 9 laptops, is normally used in aircrafts and is a strong, lightweight material. Samsung personnel told me that the Series 9 laptop can withstand 400 kgs of pressure on top. The Series 9 features a vivid SuperBright Plus display up to 100% brighter with 400nit brightness and vibrant color reproduction (16 million colors). It can start in just 15 seconds.
In the home appliances section, on display were The Trinity 2 refrigerator, Eco Bubble washing Machine, Crystal air conditioner, and OmniPro microwaves.
Samsung also signed an MOU with Strathmore University at the forum. The MOU will see Samsung partner with Strathmore in Research and Development of applications and mobile innovations good for the continent. Now this is taking the game further. Nokia and others have only collaborated with a few in the apps development. Samsung wants to make hardware meant for the continent. Samsung intends to develop 10,000 electronics engineers in Africa by 2015. The deal with Strathmore is part of the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy (SEEA) initiative which is also being run by University of Cape Town in South Africa.
At the event, Samsung key executives laid out the growth since the plan. Key was that 31% growth rate in revenue previously being realised in its Africa operations (US$1.23 billion), contributing to the company’s US$135.8 billion in global revenues – the most successful in Samsung’s history. Samsung also extended its business footprint from 15 countries in 2009 to 42 in 2010, its distributors from 32 to 80 as well as increasing their service centres from 18 in 2009 to 36 in 2010 respectively. This might make the likes of Nokia and Motorola scared. It is a fight for this market.
And through the Samsung Blue Project, the company is looking to becoming a $10 billion region by 2015 according to Mr. Kwang Kee Park, Samsung electronics Africa President. To achieve this, Samsung will start by more than doubling their 2010 growth to 63% in 2011 and grow their workforce to 5 000 people by 2015. Enough for the ambiguities.
Samsung aim to establish further knock-down plants – where currently there are such plants in Sudan, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Senegal. In 2011 and beyond, Samsung will focus much of its marketing on 30 cities in 14 countries
At the forum, various contestants won great prizes. Laptops, tabs, phones and printers were all won.