Goodbye, Lenovo and Motorola Mobile say to African markets

A discussion we have had in-house here at MobilityArena is about how Lenovo and Motorola smartphones are not doing very well in the market. Their devices had little to no advertising and visibility in Nigeria, and from the report we have, the situation was not different in Kenya and other African countries. That report says that Lenovo Mobile and its subsidiary, Motorola Mobile, are exiting African markets.

Our Kenyan friends at TechWeez report that Lenovo and Motorola have closed shop in Kenya and laid off over 90% of their staff:

We admit we didnt see this coming. Lenovo, the company that now owns Motorola Mobile has packed its bags and formally exited the Kenyan market as of the second week of March. The company is said to have laid off over 90% of its Kenyan staff in December of 2017.

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

According to the TechWeez report, the situation is not limited to just Kenya. Apparently, Lenovo has reportedly shut down all its smartphone operations in Africa but would continue to sell their phones in the region through distributors from UAE.

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In March 2017, Lenovo ran a promo, perhaps the first ever I would see, offering a pack of noodles for every Lenovo Vibe C purchased. It was also perhaps the last publicity activity by the company that I can remember.

While we didn’t see this closing of operations coming either, this development hasn’t caused any ripples or shaking here. Both smartphone brands have simply not made a splash in the markets. In Nigeria, you could run a random sampling and will be hard pressed to find one in ten people who use a Lenovo or Motorola smartphone. You would be hard pressed to find one in twenty too.

TechWeez has an official statement from the company:
Updated with Official Statement from Motorola:

“To grow and protect our Motorola business, we are rationalizing some of our organizations and as a result are deploying a new strategy and operating model in some countries. In Kenya, we will transition into an exclusive distribution model for independent and organized retail where our business partner will manage our day-to-day business with the support of the Motorola regional team, and our operator business remains as it is today with a direct partnership with trusted partners like Safaricom. Our main goal is to ensure consumers can choose the best of Motorola products in the Kenyan market and keep a strong overall customer experience including after sales support.”

We have reached out to our contacts in Lenovo/Motorola in Nigeria for a comment. We will update this report with it.

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