Smart devices gaining traction with upwardly mobile Kenyan youth

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Xiaomi's smartphones,
Xiaomi's smartphones,

Fresh from high school and bubbling with energy back in 2017, Azeezah Hashim, a 23-year-old Kenyan media personality, found the alluring beauty and sleekness of the Xiaomi smartphone irresistible.

The ambitious radio presenter said that owning a Xiaomi smartphone at the peak of her youth was a decision she remains proud of to date, thanks to its impeccable features and affordable cost.

“Ever since I started using a Xiaomi smartphone five years ago, I can say it has not disappointed me. It was my first phone and it does resonate with local clients, especially the youth,” Hashim told Xinhua during a recent interview at a Xiaomi retail center in downtown Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Hashim is currently a Xiaomi fan and influencer who is proud of raising the visibility of the company’s other flagship devices like smartwatches, earbuds, and 3C products in Kenya during her radio shows.

On display at Xiaomi’s retail center in downtown Nairobi were a variety of products including phones, smart television sets, vacuum cleaners, scooters, scales, and wearable devices, that attracted curious members of the public.

Frankline Okenye, a 23-year-old sales promoter at the Mi home KTDA, said that while the youth usually buy Xiaomi smartphones, attracted by their sleek design, the middle-aged clients are keen on wearables and smart television sets.

“Kenyans in general love our products. We often interact with our clients and their feedback has been positive. I foresee growth and dominance in this market since we offer quality and diversity of products,” said Okenye.

Harry Das Okubasu, a 28-year-old interior designer, revealed that he bought a Xiaomi 11 smartphone in 2021, to aid him in coming up with artworks that are marketable to diverse clients.

Okubasu said that based on his experience with Xiaomi smart devices like smartwatches, earbuds, robot vacuum-mop, and household products, he has come to appreciate their unique features and high quality.

In particular, he cited some pre-installed tool-type applications on Xiaomi smartphones, which can assist in the measurement part of interior design work. Xiaomi phones also support the smooth running of some professional rendering applications, which brings great convenience to design work.

Okubasu said that, unlike other mobile phone companies, Xiaomi has stood out for introducing smart devices in the Kenyan market that have transformed local people’s lifestyles.

“The Xiaomi smart devices like wearables and scooters are helping people maintain a rigorous fitness regime. At least with Xiaomi wearables, it can help people track their health, remind people when to exercise, and indirectly help people develop healthy living habits,” said Okubasu.

Previously considered alien and luxurious, smart devices are gradually causing a wave in the Kenyan market, amid rising demand by the country’s burgeoning urban middle class.

Faith Emali, the store manager at Mi home KTDA, said the company’s flagship wellness and entertainment devices have resonated with a growing clientele base with disposable income. Emali said that smart homes, pioneered by Xiaomi, could shake the Kenyan market soon, given the enthusiasm of the urban population to harness technology and enhance comfort and convenience.

“What I see in the coming years is a lot of Kenyans adopting Xiaomi’s smart homes category. Customers can come here and get a smart TV, smartwatches, purifiers, lamps, and even suitcases all in one package,” said Emali.

She said that Kenyans who have visited Xiaomi retail center have been keen to learn more about smart homes, the cost of installation, user-friendliness, and security.

Emali stressed that a countrywide expansion will enable Xiaomi to expose local clients to its diverse product range, adding that encouraging them to adopt smart homes will be a key priority.

Juliet Kirauni, a 27-year-old sales promoter at Mi home KTDA, projected a friendly demeanor as she explained to a middle-aged male visitor the features of a model smart home.

Kirauni was persuasive in her description of comfort that accompanies a smart home to the attentive visitor, saying that armed with a Xiaomi smartphone application, one can operate different gadgets like security cameras, television, lamps, and robot vacuum-mop remotely.

In the last two years working at the Xiaomi retail center, Kirauni said she has witnessed a steady growth in demand for smart devices, fueled by rising incomes among the urban middle-class population.

She added while the youth have smartphones, earbuds, and smart home products, the middle-aged often settle for smart television sets and wearables meant for wellness.

Su Mou, the head of the Xiaomi brand’s distributor (Demart) in Kenya, said that Africa is considered to be a market with great potential.

As a Chinese mobile phone brand, Xiaomi has well-recognized product power and a series of market behaviors based on respect for the cultures of African countries, which are actually a concrete demonstration of Chinese culture and innovative soft power in smart products. Enditem

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