Editor’s Note: April 11, 2019
Transsion – the Apple of Africa?
Boomplay, an Africa focused music streaming startup, has just raised $20 million to expand its services across the continent.
Largely unknown outside of Africa, Boomplay has become its leading music streaming service since launching in 2015, boasting 42 million monthly active users. In November the company signed a major licensing agreement with music giant Universal Music Group.
The platform is part of Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Transsion’s burgeoning tech empire on the continent. The company has risen from relative obscurity in recent years to dominate Africa’s handset market.
As of November 2018 its brands commanded a 51% and 34.9% market share in the feature phone and smartphone space respectively.
This could be just the beginning of its ambition.
The move into content services like music streaming is reminiscent of Apple. While hardware accounts for most of the company’s revenue and profits, a surprising second is its ecosystem of services like iTunes and the App Store.
Transsion may seek to emulate this model, using dominance in the hardware space to lock customers into its software ‘ecosystem’ – a sort of low cost Apple.
The company has not explicitly stated such ambition, but it would make a lot of strategic sense. Given its rapid growth and apparent thirst for diversification, don’t rule it out.
From The Continent
Sudan’s military is set to make an “important announcement” on Thursday amid reports that longtime president Omar al-Bashir is to step down. This comes after months of unprecedented public protests, triggered by an acute economic crisis. More: Independent Online
Nigeria plans to set up a number of special economic zones across the country, in partnership with regional development bodies, in a bid to boost manufacturing in Africa’s largest economy. The government’s goal is to increase manufacturing’s share of GDP to 20% within six years. More: Reuters
The Daily Stat
The planned size of a new Africa-focused venture fund to be launched by private equity group AfricInvest and venture capital investor Cathay Innovation. More: Private Equity Wire
The Global Perspective
A syndicate of European banks, including the German Development Bank, are in talks to provide a $420m commercial loan to fund the construction of a new airport in Djibouti, according to the country’s port authority. The contract was originally awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corp., but was cancelled in 2017. More: Bloomberg
Britain’s highest court has ruled that a group of villagers in Zambia can sue mining company Vedanta in the UK over alleged pollution. The ruling opens the door to similar claims against multinationals operating in developing countries being brought to court in the UK.More: BBC