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Seeking to capitalize on a growing population that is increasingly less poor, American and Chinese tech giants clash in Africa

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  1. Kuromantis

    US and Chinese tech companies are not new to Africa’s tech landscape. For more than two decades, western companies from IBM to Microsoft made multimillion-dollar investments in Africa’s digital infrastructure.

    Huawei and ZTE were later to the game but helped build out the second wave of the continent’s mobile network. These early investments contributed to an explosion in mobile telephony and the birth of ecommerce in African countries.

    Today, internet penetration is growing, especially in more advanced markets such as Nigeria and South Africa, and unique mobile subscriber penetration has reached more than 44 per cent. Chinese phonemaker Transsion Holdings has become Africa’s top smartphone maker, selling more than 80m phones a year.

    Africa’s pay TV market, which is expected to reach more than $6bn in revenue by 2021, the new on the scene Chinese provider StarTimes has more than 10m subscribers and just announced a 10-year $7m contract with Uganda’s football association. Meanwhile, Netflix has expanded to provide its service to all 54 countries on the continent.

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