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Brand war looms in Africa

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A brand challenge is brewing on the continent with African mobile brand Mi-Fone issuing legal letters objecting to plans by Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi and its African distributor to distribute smartphones across Africa.
The objection rests on the basis that the introduction of Xiaomi’s “Mi” products on the continent is an infringement of trademark in a market where Mi-Fone has a well-established presence via their Mi and Mi Fone trade names, according to the company.
Alpesh Patel, founder and CEO of Mi-Fone, comments: “As the owners of the ‘Mi’ and ‘Mi-Fone’ brand in Africa, we will follow the rule of law and strongly object to any channel in Africa that distributes similar named and related products,” says Alpesh Patel, founder and CEO of Mi-Fone. “Our ultimate concern is with the use of the name ‘Mi’ which immediately creates an association in the minds of consumers.”
Mi-Fone, adds Patel, was one of the first African mobile devices brand established on the continent. Mi-Fone products and services are now available across more than 15 African markets with the African headquarters operating out of Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2014 mi-Fone was awarded the Frost & Sullivan “Mobile Entrepreneurial Company of the Year” award.