Rwanda scores a first in East Africa with $0.5m phone assembly plant

September 30, 2008 • Mobile and Telecoms

Link Technologies from China has set up a $500,000 phone assembling plant in Rwanda that is producing 200 mobile phones a day.

The company’s president, Edward Yin, told The EastAfrican that it has a capacity to assemble about 600 mobile phones a day.

Mr Yin said the firm will invest $2 million more by the end of the year and added there are plans to establish a radio assembling plant as well.

A-Link Technologies, a digital and technology subsidiary of ChinaLink in Beijing, started operations in May and is assembling five different kinds of Rwandan branded mobile phones.

The relatively cheap mobile phones are assembled from imported materials.

Rwanda becomes the first country in the East African region to set up a mobile phone handset-assembling plant.

Early this month, South Korean electronic goods manufacturer LG said it was planning to establish a Ksh100 million ($1.4 million) mobile phone handset assembly plant in Kenya by next year.

LG said the Nairobi-based company would lead to a reduction in the prices of mobile handsets in Kenya by 15 per cent.

A-Link Technologies has set up its assembly plant at Communications House (ICT Park) in Kacyiru. It was registered in July last year by the Rwanda’s Investment and Export Promotions Agency with a tax exemption on all imported materials.

The company produces a phone brand called Alira. The phone is compatible with GSM technology, which uses replaceable SIM cards. This means it can be used by any communication network that uses GSM technology.

A-Links mobile phones are also the first to be programmed in the local Kinyarwanda language. Kinyarwanda, French and English are the official languages of Rwanda.

“We took the phone’s software to our sister company in China called Research & Development and we re-programmed it to suit the local consumer,” Mr Yin said.

East Africa standard

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