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zero name recognition inside China, Transsion expanded across Africa



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In 2008, Transsion Holdings sold its first mobile device in Nigeria. Within a decade, the Chinese company, which has virtually zero name recognition inside China, had expanded across Africa. In 2017, it overtook Samsung as the continent’s number one mobile phone supplier.

Who’s behind Transsion?

After spending the early 2000s globe-trotting for the overseas business arm of Chinese mobile phone maker Ningbo Bird, Transsion founder Zhu Zhaojiang broke out on his own. He opened Transsion’s first office in Lagos in 2008, and setting his sights on Sub-Saharan Africa, planned to sell millions of phones catering to the African market.

“In the past, firms that did business in Africa and South Asia did not spend too much on research and development (R&D), but in fact, emerging markets require more R&D efforts,” Zhu told Global Times, China’s state-owned national daily.

More than a decade later, Transsion operates three brands from its headquarters in Shenzhen in China: Infinix, Itel, and Tecno. Collectively, they represent the bestselling mobile phones on the African continent — on both basic so-called feature phones and smartphones. Transsion recorded over 40% of smartphone sales in Africa in the last quarter of 2019, according to research firm IDC. For the past three years, Transsion has led Africa in market share. 


Now listed on China’s tech-focused STAR Market, Transsion raised over $400 million during its September 2019 IPO. Its current market cap stands at just over $7 billion. The market cap for mobile giant Xiaomi, the world’s leading budget smartphone producer, is $39 billion.

How did they do it?

Transsion’s ethos is rooted in a business strategy called “glocalization,” the creation of products that will sell universally but can be customized to specific markets or regions. In the case of smartphone manufacturing, Transsion has been lauded for paying attention to which features African consumers want in their devices.

Most mobile-savvy Africans know that in order to avoid network fees and get the best connectivity in low-coverage areas, they need more than one SIM card — but most can’t afford two different phones. Transsion solved that problem by selling dual SIM card phones in 2008, two years before competitors like Nokia began to. Today, some Transsion phones even include a four-SIM feature.

One feature that set Tecno apart was its camera, which had been developed for better exposure on darker skin tones. Transsion invested heavily in R&D for this project, analyzing several million photos of dark-skinned Africans and surveying the exposure and color temperature settings of local users. Ultimately, it synthesized these preferences into the design of its own camera.


In Ethiopia, Tecno became the first major phone brand in the country to offer a keyboard in Amharic, the country’s native script. This unlocked an entirely new customer base. Swahili and Hausa keyboards have also been added to Transsion devices

And, of course, they’re cheap.

Transsion’s feature phones are currently sold for as little as $20. 

In Sub-Saharan African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, and Ethiopia, an entry-level mobile phone on average costs 69% of a person’s monthly income, according to a 2019 report from mobile network trade association GSMA. In the poorest 20% of the population in those same countries, that percentage skyrockets to almost three times what a person makes in a month. The cost of a phone matters.

In order to keep its prices low, Transsion bypassed costly additions like palm-sized touch screens, multiple-lens cameras, and advanced computing power. In place of full-fledged smartphones, Transsion sold feature phones, which still allow users to text, call, and access apps like Facebook and use Opera’s internet browser, even though they don’t have access to third-party app stores and other options normally associated with iOS or Android.

“Transsion focused on this cheap model first and then moved to smartphone manufacturing gradually, spreading their influence in the rural regions,” said Louis Liu, an analyst at the market research firm Canalys. Cornering this low-end market early established Tecno and Itel as household names.

Among the top 10 mobile phones sold in Africa in August 2019, the last date available, Transsion brands held eight spots. Itel’s IT1406 was the cheapest phone on the list at a $35 retail price. Its closest competitor, Huawei, was selling its Y6 Pro for $101.


Today, Transsion also outperforms its early rivals in the low-cost feature phone space, including Nokia. The Finnish company, which has been selling phones in Africa since the mid-1990s, once ruled the market in the 2000s but ranks second in feature phone shares across Africa as of 2019, with 10% of units, according to IDC. Transsion now controls more than two-thirds of the market.

Are they stopping with Africa?

Not quite. In 2019, Transsion started expanding its manufacturing operations in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.

“[Transsion] is a success story,” said Ramazan Yavuz, a senior mobile market research manager at IDC. “For a very region-driven brand that has been successful in Africa, I think their efforts in the Indian subcontinent are a replication effort.”

India in particular will be a test of Transsion’s ability to apply its glocalization strategy to a bigger and more competitive environment. The country buys more premium smartphones than the African markets where Transsion operates, and device makers like Oppo, Huawei, and Xiaomi have spent years earning their Indian market shares. But India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China, and there may still be room to compete in the “ultra-low-end” bracket.

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Divine IT Conducts Training on Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission’s Uniform System of Accounts for Standardized Gas Sector Accounting in Bangladesh



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Divine IT Limited recently conducted a comprehensive training session on the Uniform System of Account of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission.

The event featured distinguished attendees including the Chairman of BERC, Md. Nurul Amin, and Divine IT’s MD and CEO, Iqbal Ahmed Fakhrul Hasan. Additionally, the Director of Gas of BERC, Md. Fazle Alam, Mohammad Kamruzzaman (Deputy Director (Tariff)), Divine IT’s COO, Md Kamrul Hassan, and Mahfijur Rahman Jewel (V.P. PrismGRP) were also present.

This training aimed to enhance understanding and implementation of standardized accounting practices across the gas sector in Bangladesh, promoting transparency and regulatory compliance.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission’s Uniform System of Accounts standardizes accounting practices across all licensed gas sector entities in Bangladesh, including Petrobangla and its subsidiaries, ensuring consistency and transparency. It facilitates consolidated financial reporting, aids in regulatory compliance, and supports fair tariff determination.

By implementing BERC’s Uniform System of Accounts, gas sector entities can achieve greater transparency in management and operation, protect consumer interests, streamline the collection and management of energy statistics, and provide a clear framework for dispute settlement. These enhancements promote a competitive market and attract private investment, fostering a well-regulated energy sector.

DivineIT’s expertise positions them to significantly aid gas sector companies in Bangladesh, potentially mirroring past successes like with Titas Gas in 2015. With their experience with automation solutions, they developed and implemented a customized software solution that adheres to the BERC Uniform System of Accounts. This system could automate data collection, account management, and reporting processes across all gas sector entities. This would streamline compliance for companies and simplify the consolidation of financial reports for BERC. Additionally, Divine IT provides training and support to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders involved. This initiative not only enhances regulatory compliance but also fosters a transparent and well-regulated gas sector in Bangladesh.


The training session by Divine IT marks a significant step towards standardized and transparent accounting practices in Bangladesh’s gas sector, paving the way for improved efficiency and regulatory adherence.

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Bangladeshi Startup Celebrates Success at VivaTech 2024, Unveils Future Plans



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By Mojahidul Islam

Europe’s biggest tech event, VivaTech 2024, took place from May 22–25, and this year, Bangladesh embarked on its inaugural participation at VivaTech with 12 renowned startups.

Through selection by the ICT Division of Bangladesh, these startups got the opportunity to showcase their innovations in AI, automation, quantum computing, cybersecurity, microchip design, and other frontier technologies on the world stage in Paris.

Bangladeshi exhibitors for the 8th edition of VivaTech included the renowned companies Riseup Labs, Brain Station 23, BJIT Limited, Astha IT, and others. Furthermore, with over 165,000 attendees, this year’s VivaTech broke previous records in terms of attendees, exhibitors, speakers, online viewers, and even the number of business connections made. Following their exhibition, Riseup Labs shared their experience with The Daily Frontline, providing insights into the event’s success and the newfound opportunities for the company. According to their representative:


“VivaTech 2024 could open many doors for Bangladeshi tech startups. The event provided a formative ground to network with the international tech startup community and to observe global innovation trends unfold in real time. The huge platform opened doors for strategic partnerships and helped forge innumerable sessions with investors, prospects, and large corporations. Moreover, it provided the perfect stage for showcasing Bangladesh’s strides in tech and innovation to a global audience.”

Additionally, the company’s representative told us that Riseup Labs was able to secure around 25 new business opportunities through the event. The company looks forward to embarking on its new projects and setting a stronghold on the international scene.

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WSIS Prizes 2024 recognize the best in tech projects to support sustainable development



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Winners from around the world honoured for innovative approaches to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals

​​Winners of the WSIS Prizes, recognizing innovative technological approaches to support sustainable development, were announced today at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+20 Forum High-Level Event 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Overall, projects from 18 countries were presented with WSIS Prizes top honours, showcasing leading efforts to bridge the digital divide, foster digital inclusion, and drive socio-economic progress on a global scale.

“This year’s WSIS Prizes demonstrate the innovation and energy that exist to find technological solutions to some of the globe’s biggest challenges,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “These are the creative contributions that the world needs in our effort to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

WSIS Prizes 2024 Winners

Category 1: The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
Organization: Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA)
Project: The National Data Bank (NDB) and Estishraf
Country: Saudi Arabia
Description: To revolutionize Saudi Arabia’s governance through data and AI, enhancing sectors like healthcare, education, and transportation while promoting innovation and collaboration.


Category 2: Information and communication infrastructure
Organization: Department of Information and Communications Technology – Region 10
Project: Empowering Disaster Response in Northern Mindanao through the use of Local Radio Networks
Country: Philippines
Description: To establish a resilient radio communication network across Northern Mindanao to enhance disaster response and mitigate the impact of future crises.

Category 3: Access to information and knowledge
Organization: Internet Society Tanzania Chapter (ISOC-Tz) & Partner Organization for Digital Africa & ISOC Foundation​
Project: Tanzania Digital Inclusion Project (TADIP)
Country: United Republic of Tanzania
Description: To bridge the digital divide in Tanzania by providing affordable Internet access, digital skills training, and community engagement initiatives, thereby fostering socio-economic development and inclusivity.

Category 4: Capacity building
Organization: Perkumpulan Mitra TIK Indonesia (ICT Watch)
Project: JaWAra Internet Sehat
Country: Indonesia
Description: To promote digital literacy and empower communities in Indonesia through grassroots initiatives led by local champions, fostering a conducive internet ecosystem and enhancing digital skills and safety awareness.

Category 5: Building confidence and security in use of ICTs
Organization: Bangladesh Computer Council
Project: NationalConnect: Empowering Governance, Education, and Sustainability through Secure Government Video Conferencing
Country: Bangladesh
Description: To provide a homegrown video conference platform developed by the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) to ensure seamless government services and educational continuity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, while fostering innovation and cost-saving measures.

Category 6: Enabling environment
Organization: Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT)
Project: Interactive Tool of Policies, Terms and Conditions Applicable in the use of Digital Platforms
Country: Mexico
Description: To provide transparent and accessible information to users about privacy policies and terms of service on various digital platforms, empowering them to make informed decisions and promoting digital literacy.


Category 7: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-government)
Organization: Innovation and Digital Development Agency (IDDA)
Project: “MyGov”
Country: Azerbaijan
Description: To create a unified digital service platform that seamlessly integrates citizens and state entities, providing efficient access to government services and fostering collaboration.

Category 8: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-business)
Organization: Financial Service Authority (FSA)
Project: Analytical Portal (Bayanat)
Country: Oman
Description: To establish an analytical portal (Bayanat) that facilitates the exchange of business information based on the global XBRL standard, providing accessible and reliable financial data to market participants.

Category 9: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-learning)
Organization: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Project: Young ArcHers project
Country: Spain
Description: To develop efficient training materials and accessible tools to support primary school teachers in promoting European cultural heritage among students, including those with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds.​

Category 10: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-health)
Organization: Check Me Ltd
Project: Check Me
Country: Rwanda
Description: An AI-powered e-health platform aimed at combating breast cancer in Africa by addressing awareness gaps, accessibility issues, and high healthcare costs through education, self-screening guidance, and connectivity with specialists and survivors.

Category 11: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-employment)
Organization: Digital Dubai Authority
Project: Smart Employee
Country: United Arab Emirates
Description: To revolutionize staff management in Dubai’s government entities by providing an innovative, user-friendly, and efficient solution for various services, contributing to the city’s digital transformation goals.

Category 12: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-environment)
Organization: Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (AIS)
Project: AIS E-Waste+ Application
Country: Thailand
Description: To revolutionize e-waste management in Thailand by providing a comprehensive platform that encourages responsible disposal and recycling through the innovative use of blockchain technology.


Category 13: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-agriculture)
Organization: Department of Agriculture
Project: GeoTanaman
Country: Malaysia
Description: To revolutionize Malaysia’s agriculture by providing a comprehensive digital platform for farmers to manage, analyze, and present geospatial information related to food crops, fostering a resilient and self-sufficient agricultural landscape.

Category 14: ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (E-science)
Organization: China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd
Project: Large-Capacity Wide-Area Data Express for Scientific Computing Breakthroughs
Country: China
Description: To address the inefficiency and security risks associated with wide-area transmission of large volumes of data in scientific research by proposing an efficient and economical online data transmission solution based on a computility network and AI intelligent scheduling.

Category 15: Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content
Organization: Digitization Association for Technology and Science (DATS)
Project: Center for Digitization and Documentation of Heritage and Arts Setif
Country: Algeria
​​​Description: To document the heritage and arts of Setif in the virtual world, to digitize them in two- and three-dimensional formats, and to obtain certificates of ownership in the virtual world with tradable crypto assets (NFT’s), enhancing the protection and conservation of the cultural heritage and arts.

Category 16: Media
Organization: Upview
Project: One-stop AI Solution for content creators to go viral – consistently!
Country: United States of America
Description: An AI-powered growth platform for video content creators, aiming to automate video strategy, support execution, and drive distribution for content creators using proprietary AI technology.

Category 17: Ethical dimensions of the Information Society
Organization: Nokia
Project: Smartpur
Country: India
Description: To empower and support local communities in India through digital technology, focusing on connecting the unconnected and providing access to essential services in health, education, livelihood, financial inclusion, and governance.


Category 18: International and regional cooperation
Organization: South School on Internet Governance
Project: University Diploma in Internet Governance and Regulations
Country: Argentina
Description: To train young students and professionals from various disciplines in understanding the importance of Internet Governance and its impact on developing economies, enhancing representation in global Internet Governance discussions.

Showcasing technology for impact
The WSIS Prizes are a global platform aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The WSIS Prizes 2024 received over 1000 submissions from over 100 countries. Since its inception in 2012, the contest has received more than 5,000 submissions and engaged with millions of stakeholders, including voters, on success stories from around the world that are built around technological solutions to sustainable development challenges.

At the WSIS Prizes 2024 ceremony, the Swiss Confederation and the United Arab Emirates were recognized for 20 years of implementation of WSIS Action Lines.

The WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event 2024 is meeting from 27 to 31 May to address challenges and log achievements in the two decades since the multi-stakeholder WSIS process was established.


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