Samsung ditches notebooks in South Africa

Samsung ditches notebooks in South Africa

Summary: Korean company moves focus to mobile in wake of declining PC market.


Samsung Electronics has announced that it is pulling out of the notebook market in South Africa, as sales of PCs and laptops across the whole region take a tumble.

The company says it will focus on its mobile phone and tablet business, which it sees as "aligned with the evolution of the technology market and the changing end user demands".

Samsung closed its laptop business in the eastern African market in the last quarter of 2013, where it was the clear market leader with 27 percent of share at the start of that year.

According to director of mobile communications for South Africa Craig Fleischer, the decision has been taken following increasing demand for tablets over laptop computers. In February, Digitimes reported on rumours that the firm was considering withdrawing from the notebook market globally in order to focus on Chromebooks and mobile. Rival Sony sold its Vaio business in the same month.

Samsung's announcement follows a report published by analysts at IDC, which showed that sales of PCs and laptop fell by 18.8 percent in South Africa in the last quarter of 2013 while tablet shipments more than doubled in volume.

Earlier this week, IDC published figures for the east African market — covering tech hotspots in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Uganda — showing a massive 31.6 percent decline in the market over the first three months of 2014.

According to IDC, the two most significant factors in east Africa have been the introduction of VAT in Kenya and logistical issues with imports held up in Dubai.

IDC's James Matua also says that vendors have failed to provide alternatives to low cost netbooks for developing markets.

"Huge volumes of low-cost mini notebooks were shipped to East Africa during the corresponding period of 2013, and these devices are no longer in production," Mutua said. "We expected the remaining vendors to take advantage of this gap by developing products specifically targeted at this market, but this has so far not materialised."

Samsung says that it will continue supporting existing South African notebook owners through its network of service centres.

Read more on laptops

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Samsung

Adam Oxford

About Adam Oxford

Adam Oxford is the editor-in-chief of, a South African tech blog that covers issues from around the country and the continent beyond. Based in Johannesburg but originally from the UK, he's written for most of the major technology publishers over the last 17 years, covering everything from PC gaming to photography to Linux to open data and emerging tech markets.

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  • Samsung ain't stupid ...

    The writing is on the wall, and it says:

    "I see Windows everywhere, and it doesn't know it's dead"
  • Why wait?

    This article has been up for hours, and Microsoft Central has yet to release talking points to the Shill Army. So I guess it's up to me to explain how this is great news for Microsoft.

    Samsung's exit from the laptop market will be a boon to sales of Surface tablets in South Africa. My rep told me that people are lining up around the block to buy the new Surface models, which are off to a great start in all world markets.

    I know it's weak, but until Microsoft's official representatives arrive with the actual talking points from Waggener Edstrom, it will have to do.
    Robert Hahn
  • Same with cell phones

    Many people in the developing world are skipping landlines and going straight to cell phones. Makes sense that if you are not doing coding or other process intensive applications that you would not need the power of a full PC.

    I would not count Microsoft out though, they developed W8 to run lighter than W7 and 8.1 Update 1 runs lighter than 8. The rumored next version of Windows will have a sku that is even lighter and runs on very inexpensive hardware. Couple that with free Office on some of these devices and I can see them doing well in these markets.

    I do testing on client technology for my own company and I will try and live with only a Android Hybrid or iOS tablet or a ChromeBook etc and although Windows RT is more limited, its still more productive and useful OS than those others if its all you have. Expand out the apps and it would be perfect.
    Rann Xeroxx