Welcome to our journey to Kenya!
- the Kenyan market is certainly big enough and growing fast enough to be viewed in a serious light, but you need to do your feasibility studies first?
- applications and solutions designed for the developed markets do not necessarily have relevance for Kenyan users?
- your application needs to run on budget models as well?
Kenyan mobile industry has seen breathtaking growth figures during the recent years. As penetration rates grow, operators and other players in the mobile ecosystem are competing in introducing new services and applications both for the consumer and business segments. This opens up good opportunities for Finnish mobile companies as well.
Applications and solutions introduced for the developed markets do not necessarily have relevance for a Kenyan user. They cannot be copied as such, since they have been developed for a certain social and historical context. A systematic understanding of the human behavior that impacts the needs for possible applications is needed. Even anthropology plays an important role here. To provide a relevant service that addresses local needs of the market, is an only way to sustainable and profitable business.
As a principle most content would need to be localized. However, elements of the existing services can inspire product and service development for Kenya as well.
From the end users-point of view, the challenge is to create “light” mobile services and applications enabled to work on budget mobile phones, and to bring added value at the same time. Younger generation is looking for social media based applications, community creation and entertainment. However, education and instructive applications play an extremely important role as well. Adults are more after useful and practical evereday applications.
From a mobile operator’s point of view, products and services that increase access to mobile phones and drive data usage not only for the richest segments, but also for the poorest classes, are bound to awake interest. SMS based solutions tend to be more popular than browser based due to usage habits and costs. Most successful mobile innovations in fact leverage the consumer habits of the poorest.
The huge success of Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer services in Kenya is one of the best examples of the potential of relevant content, and of a service that practically changed people’s daily lives.
- Get feedback for your solution from potential users and partners to see if there is a need and interest for it
- Make sure your solution works on budget handsets as well, and remember that Android is quickly gaining foothold.
- Understand the localisation needs
- Find out how the local ecosystem works
- Check what kind of competition you will face.
Often a visit to Kenya is worthwhile in order to get a concrete “touch and feel” of the market.