Toshiba has begun its expansion across the African continent with the opening of a sales and support office in Lagos, Nigeria.
Headed up by business development manager, Emmanuel Olusegun Sokunbi, the office will offer marketing and support services to Toshiba's channel partners in Nigeria, as well as a number of surrounding West African countries including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.
"Territories outside of South Africa are relatively new markets for Toshiba," says Reon Coetzee, marketing manager for Toshiba South Africa and Africa.
"To this extent, we are focussing a lot of our strength in establishing distribution channels in this new region and have subsequently appointed Technology Distributions Limited, which also has offices in Ghana, as our service partner for the region."
Sokunbi says that, given the limited number of options available to businesses and consumers in various African regions, the introduction of a new "big name" brand will go a long way in promoting additional competition in the market.
"This not only translates to more variety in notebooks for people to choose from, but it also helps to bring prices down and improve the likelihood of easier access to technology," he says.
"As Toshiba expands into Africa, rolling out sales and support channels and recruiting partners within various markets, it will continue to deliver the same innovative technologies that have made the Toshiba brand so famous internationally. There's no reason why Africa should settle for second best," Sokunbi adds.
This level of faith in its own products has earned Toshiba a reputation of putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak, and also demonstrates the high level of faith the company has in its products to withstand "African" working conditions.
"In addition," he says, "we understand that there is concern from the general public in the Nigerian market as to the availability of after sales support, which is critical to all the current and intending buyers.
"To this effect, an ultra-modern service centre has been established in partnership with TD Africa where Toshiba-certified engineers will be available to meet users' support needs with expedited service delivery."
Plans are also in finalisation for Toshiba's East African office, which should be operational in the later half of 2008.
"While the rest of Africa is relatively unchartered territory for Toshiba, the plan is to assess each market individually and deliver products, solutions, and, most importantly, relationships that not only benefit the brand, but also the local technology economies," Coetzee concludes.