Africa’s Top Smartphone Seller Files For An IPO

By  |  March 26, 2019

Shenzhen Transsion Holdings, the manufacturer of Infinix, Tecno and Itel phones has applied to raise capital on Shanghai’s tech board via an initial public offering (IPO), becoming among the first among China’s home-grown technology champions to kick off President Xi Jinping’s fundraising project.

The IPO came about following guidance provided by an investment bank during a counselling period between December 2018 until March this year. According to Citic Securities, China’s largest investment bank and the sponsor of Transsion’s fundraising, the guidance and advice was on the IPO applicant’s finances, management and corporate governance. The information disbursed did not disclose the amount of capital Transsion would raise.

The initiative marks the first in an IPO beeline for Shanghai’s tech board which fulfills a directive made by China’s President Xi last November. He gave an order for the establishment of IPO to provide an alternative avenue for Chinese start-ups to raise capital.

Reports indicate 11 other mainland China companies have applied to list on the new board. The Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday unveiled an online platform tracking the review process for the new board.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) a while ago scrapped a valuation limit on new listings, removing the final barrier that has prevented tech companies from raising capital locally.

Founded by Zhu Zhaojiang 13 years ago, Transsion has strategised to sell entry-level phones in developing economies to overthrow brands such Apple, Samsung, Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi which costs more. The Shenzhen-headquartered company’s success has largely been linked to their ‘glocalization strategy’. In 2017, Transsion became Africa’s top smartphone maker.

“Transsion is in urgent need of money” to finance its expansion and growth, said Frank Xu, an analyst at Q Fund, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. “The company is facing more competition as it moves up the value chain to produce smartphones, and they need money to improve their infrastructure and services to attract more customers.”

Transsion has a global sales network covering more than 50 countries and regions in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia, including Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, and others, its website said. The company has more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

The company has 58.7 per cent share of the market feature phones according to IDC data. Among smartphones, Transsion’s market share was 34.3 per cent, beating Samsung’s 22.6 per cent and Huawei’s 9.9 per cent. The company revealed it shipped 130 million phones in 2018.

Prior undergoing its IPO counselling, Transsion was contemplating on going public through a reverse takeover of Shimge Pump Industry Group on the Shenzhen Exchange, according to a March 2018 statement.

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