iPhone maker Apple hires second Kenya dealer to grow regional sales

US technology giant Apple has recruited a second distributor in Kenya, seeking to push its products in the local and the regional market amid growing competition from rivals.

Apple has partnered with Netsol, a local electronics distributor, to sell its iPhones, iPads, Macbook computers and their accessories as well as offer aftersales services, including repairs.

Netsol last week opened a Sh15 million exhibition shop at the Lavington Mall in Nairobi at an event attended by Apple representatives.

For over four years, the California-based Apple has been distributing its products in Kenya and the region through Nairobi-based Elite Digital Solutions that has branches at Peponi Plaza, Thika Road Mall and Sarit Centre.

“Globally, Apple is focusing on Africa and particularly Kenya as a key market,” George Towey, Netsol managing director, said during the opening of the “Experience Centre”.

“Apple has continued to invest its resources to make sure that the reach and penetration of its products is expanded to be at par with other markets.”

Netsol, which began operation a year ago, plans to open a second store at the Centum’s Two Rivers Mall in the first quarter of next year.

The deal comes at a time when Chinese firms such as Tecno and Xiaomi are making inroads in markets such as Kenya, clawing market share from top manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Sony.

These renowned tech firms have been struggling for market share in the premium space with brands such as iPhone 6 Plus by Apple and the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge by Samsung and Sony’s Xperia Z3 Plus.

The opening of a second distributor, therefore, signals Apple’s commitment to protect its share in the face of increased competition.

“This investment demonstrates our long term affiliation with Apple and our growing optimism regarding the region’s business prospects,” said Mr Towey.

“We are proud to be associated with a trusted brand such as Apple and we ready to latch onto the company’s continued innovation and steady growth.”

Apple has a three-tier supply chain comprising authorised distributors who deal directly with the company, premium resellers (such as Elite Digital Solutions) and retailers.