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Onyx to build Africa’s first smartphone plant

December 6, 2016 • Hardware, Mobile and Telecoms, Software, Startups, Top Stories

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Onyx Connect will manufacture handsets, tablets and other devices based on Google Inc.’s Android system.

According to a report by TimesLive, South African start-up, Onyx Connect is set to become the first to manufacture smartphones in Africa. Onyx is licensed to load Google software like Android and Chrome onto devices sold under the company’s own brand or products. The company raised $10.8 million from investors and is set to begin production in the first quarter of 2017.

The company will become the first ever manufacturer of smartphones in Africa. Timeslive reports that Onyx’s plan involves tapping into China’s strengths. The company sourced circuit-board designs and raw components from China, but it’s designing the rest of the phones and building them itself from the circuit board up. The plastic cases are being produced locally, and Onyx has its own research and development capability.

According to TimesLive Google welcomes local production of devices highlighting the need for affordable devices that are easily accessible and can benefit the people. According to the report the drop of the value of the Rand has made labor less expensive in Africa’s most industrialized economy, while making phones imported from China or elsewhere in Asia harder to afford.

With a lot at stake, According to TimesLive Onyx’s plan involves tapping into China’s strengths. The company sourced circuit-board designs and raw components from China, but it’s designing the rest of the phones and building them itself from the circuit board up. The plastic cases are being produced locally, and Onyx has its own research and development capability.

While some companies in South Africa are already assembling smartphones from imported kit, Onyx is manufacturing the device and saving on import duties.

TimesLive reports that Onyx is setting up a distribution center in Ethiopia within the next 12 to 18 months they further report that the company can produce a device in Johannesburg for about $30 that includes a camera and 1 gigabyte of memory. According to TimesLive the project will create 600 jobs.

Staff Writer


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