With an eye on a fast-expanding African market, SanDisk last year signed a partnership with top distributor Mitsumi. Tareq Husseini, Sales Director Middle East and Africa discusses the prospects of this partnership
Last year SanDisk signed a partnership with Mitsumi to distribute SanDisk products in Africa. Discuss how you plan to leverage this partnership for long-term growth?
Africa is an aspiring continent with a lot of historical and cultural links with the Middle East. The two regions are always used in the same context due to these connections and proximity and this relationship can only grow. I believe Africa has a lot of room to grow still even though many of these countries are growing at an impressive 5-7 percent every year. Therefore, SanDisk is in Africa to invest and not to merely trade. Trading is what has been going on in the continent from bases in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. If you invest resources and build however, you will reap the rewards and this then this becomes a win-win partnership. Africa is a real consumer market and not a trader market with a genuine need for these products. We started with two countries and now have spread to other countries and we may have to triple the business this year as demand grows.
What makes Mitsumi a preferred partner as far as SanDisk is concerned?
Mitsumi is a unique distributor in the African continent in that they who built a multi-million dollar business from scratch in a span of less than 20 years. It’s a distributor with feet on the ground and a model that is tried, tested and proven for success. This is why we chose Mitsumi to distribute our products. We are very excited about working with the company having seen business in Africa rise significantly since we signed them on. Business in Africa is currently booming and with Mitsumi covering 27 countries in the continent, we’re guaranteed to reach the reseller and retail channels in a very big way.
Mitsumi’s backbone of success comes from having stock points locally. So even though the headquarters have recently moved to Dubai, the stock points are in-country with warehouses in such countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, North Africa countries and more. This is a key differentiator for Mitsumi from other distributors who only do trading. They are there in the market, can supply the channel and offer a competitive price.
Discuss your value proposition to the African market that your partners cannot find with any other vendor?
We are bringing reliable technology at competitive pricing plus all the support we can offer the market whether it’s in returns, education and training as one package for our partners in Africa. We have SanDisk offices in Nairobi with our own people and we are soon expanding into North Africa and South Africa with the requisite ground support for our distributors. It’s our belief here at SanDisk that the African market offers a potential market of over 100 million products and we are keen to tap into this undeniable opportunity.
2013 was a busy year for SanDisk. Discuss some key product and technology breakthroughs for the year
Last year we launched one of the fastest USB drives on the USB3.0 platform with speeds of up to 190MB/s. At SanDisk, we follow the” Good, Better, Best” strategy. On the “Good” range we have USB 3.0 drives running at 88MBps, one of the fastest in the class in addition to the Extreme range at 190MBps. On the Micro SD side, we launched the Extreme Pro, a professional Micro SD card. This will put us in good stead as technology progresses to the Full Definition video platform as well as the emerging 4K video and 4G internet platforms. This new fast-speed landscape will be fully supported by these products including the 80MBps and 96GB Micro SD cards.
How then is SanDisk helping the market navigate to this dynamic future?
Our mission at SanDisk has always been to enrich peoples’ lives through digital technology. This was the vision of the founders from the early days when SanDisk pioneered Flash and in so doing changed the way people use digital memory. It changed the way people take pictures, the way we use photography, progressing to the mobile phone age and today where video and images have become as important as phone calls. In the future, we will be continuously working on new materials that will make memory even bigger, much faster and strive to continue our leadership role.