Toa Electronics, a Japanese manufacturer and distributor of high-end audio and video equipment, has partnered a local firm to distribute its products in Uganda, it was announced last week.
The company manufactures speakers, projectors, video equipment, microphones, cables, and bathroom accessories, among others. Technet, a local technology firm based in Bugolobi, will be their main distributor in Uganda. Technet will, in turn, partner with local electronic retailers to sell the products.
Ralph Singer, Toa’s sales and marketing manager for Southern Africa, said they saw a gap in the country for genuine products. Plus, Singer said, there was increasing investment in modern buildings, including shopping centres and malls in the country, which require specialised products in terms of wiring for communication and clear sound.
“There are so much of inferior products on the market,” Singer said. “The average man on the street is being ripped off. Ugandans today just work with what is available, but we want to change that.”
The electronics market is probably the most counterfeited in the country. But Singer is adamant, arguing their products are hard to fake. Singer told The Observer that they targeted churches, shopping centres, hotels, airports, railway stations, hospitals, education centres, and other places where many people go for services. They have products for individuals too.
There are competitors in the country already. Such firms as Sony, LG, and Hisense are already established in Uganda. Singer, however, is confident that the huge difference between their products and the competitors’ will endear them to Ugandans.
Whoever decides to buy their products, he said, they must assess the need and aise the buyer.
“People don’t know what they need we come, survey and aise you on sound. If we think the product you want is not made for such place, we don’t sell it to you,” he said.
For conferences, they have special microphones that mute the music automatically in case someone decides to speak.
“We don’t just sell you equipment, we sell you sound,” Singer said.
Singer says they also do installation and networks in bigger malls as well as individual shops. In Uganda, the firm worked on Acacia mall. Boaz Shani, the director Technet, told The Observer they were already in touch with retailers in town to help sell the products. To avoid counterfeits, they would give their retailers a certificate of recognition, such that doubting customers could ask and look at it.
Toa’s products bear its name. Shani said some of the products would go for as low as Shs 100,000. In the region, Toa has distribution centres in Kenya and Tanzania. World over, the firm operates in more than 100 countries, according to a statement on its website.
They have achieved sales of more than $300m world over. Meanwhile, Technet is already a distributor for other global electronic players such as Kramer Electronics Ltd and Axel Wireless.
Source : The Observer