South Africa’s Onyx Connect set the news abuzz with their announcement that they will be manufacturing Android smartphones in South Africa. This comes after they secured $10.5 million in funding and announcing that they will be the “first company to ever manufacture smartphones in Africa.”. The bold move comes after Onyx signed a software licensing deal with Google.
Google is not the only "big company" that Onyx have had talks with, according the company sales director, Andre Van Der Merwe, they continue to have talks with South Africa's Vodacom Group as they look to sign the mobile services provider to distribute their devices.
But is Onyx the first to manufacture smartphones in Afrika?
Towards the end of 2015 Congolese technology company VMK Tech opened a “manufacturing” plant in Brazzaville in Republic of Congo, where it was making, among other things, the Elikia line of smartphones, but the truth was that the smartphones were made in China according to reports with VMK just adding their branding at their plant. In the same breath, Onyx confirmed that their smartphone components will be purchased in China and assembled in South Africa.
Despite this, Onyx have highlighted that R & D and design of their devices will all take place in South Africa.
Onyx have also stated that talks with Google and other big tech comtinue as they want to diversify into manufacturing laptops, tablets, and other devices.
We will have to wait until the Onyx plant is opened to establish if indeed the devices are being manufactured at the plant given previous claims by VMK Tech. HAaving said that, this is an important development by Onyx as it is likely to create much needed jobs for South Africa's economy.