Global ICT and connectivity services provider China Unicom has officially entered the African telecoms space and set up operations in South Africa.
The company hosted a launch ceremony in Johannesburg last week and has confirmed its focus on connectivity and ICT services incorporating cloud computing and the datacentre.
While a statement issued to the media referenced China Unicom's timely launch (with specific attention to the 4th industrial revolution and its impact on Africa, the continued trade and investment between South Africa and China, and the forthcoming 10th BRICS Summit), the services provider offered little by way of detail around its immediate go-to-market strategy and its value proposition to compete in South Africa.
China Unicom South Africa intends to focus initially on Chinese and "other Asian enterprises" that have branches in Africa, as well as African enterprises that have branches overseas.
CEO Dennis Meng said, "While at the same time we are learning from the local ICT market, hopefully we can service more customers and partners from various sectors such as the government and public sector, transportation sector, finance sector, education sector, manufacture sector, mining sector and health sector. Relying on our continuously creation and innovation, we are keen to contribute our effort for a better connected, smarter and safer Africa."
But exactly how will the company do that? According to Meng the strategy is to leverage its "extensive global network coverage and professional experience" as well as continued local investment and qualified service to secure its footprint in South Africa.
Although Meng did not specify details, he said the company has established local partnerships with carriers and ICT-centric SMMEs.
The company believes South Africa is a natural choice in terms of location to spearhead services into the rest of the continent.
"We consider South Africa to be a most suitable starting place for entering into Africa market. The solid infrastructure and social economic development are more advanced in South Africa. South Africa is always the first choice for most enterprises when they start their business in Africa," said Meng.
While China Unicom South Africa is described by the company as its initial "footprint and regional HQ" in Africa, executives have every confidence of boosting business to other African countries.
According to Meng, the size of the company's current staff complement is still small, having just launched, but they are looking to recruit locally.
“While China Unicom is strengthening its network infrastructure investment and construction in Africa, it will also work closely with African telecommunication operators and equipment manufacturers to provide products and solutions such as cloud computing, big data, IoT, innovative ICT services, premium Internet and global networking solutions, and will help local companies to develop informatisation and digital transformation, and provide high-quality ICT services for Chinese companies opening business in Africa, and for African companies expanding business globally. The establishment of China Unicom South Africa is a new milestone in China Unicom's international business development,” reads a statement issued by the company," reads a statement issued by the company.