Last year, a RIM representative told me at the Mobile Web West Africa conference that the Blackberry maker was about to storm into Nigeria.
Well, that didn’t happen in 2011.
In February this year, RIM’s Senior Operations Manager, Lelany Sommers stole Day 1 of the Mobile Web West Africa when she pronounced the company’s love for Nigeria and announced that it will be setting up offices in Lagos later this year.
For a country that is responsible for 32% of all Blackberry app downloads in Africa, second only to South Africa, and for a smartphone currently with the largest smartphone market share in Nigeria, one would have expected that RIM would have had a physical presence several years ago.
But for a company that is widely regarded slow towards the fast lane of innovation, product development and marketing, one shouldn’t be surprised.
The tip-off finally came last week after an invitation to a press conference where Research In Motion, makers of the Blackberry smartphone were going to share some new announcements and updates about BlackBerry within the region to be hosted by RIM’s Regional Managing Director for Africa, Robert Bose, and Waldi Wepener, RIM’s Regional Director for East, West and Central Africa.
As a hungry tech blogger, I naturally got curious as to what those announcements and updates about the company within the region were. I emailed, made calls. Etcetera.
As expected, RIM’s PR agency in Nigeria, Africa Practice wouldn’t comment, neither would any of the company’s representatives. Instead, I got an “I’m not at liberty to say” remark from one of their reps.
In fact, it was a “don’t-ask-don’t tell” situation and I didn’t take any offence, since I wasn’t paying their salaries.
Today, I got confirmation that one of the announcements would be the launch of Research In Motion’s new office situated at 98, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos to be unveiled this week.
It is unclear what the new RIM office would be doing, but what we know is that it will serve as a regional hub for West Africa and help the company consolidate its emerging markets strategy.
Well, I’m sure this is a tip of the iceberg as the company’s press conference tomorrow (Tuesday) could reveal more details as to its physical launch in Nigeria and much more.
I’ll be live at the event tomorrow so make sure you keep up with our updates.