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First SA Mara Experience Store opens in Soweto

Mara phones, a subsidiary of multi-sector business services company Mara Group, has announced the opening of first South African Mara Experience Store in Maponya Mall, Soweto, the hub of Klipspruit. The franchise store is owned by broadcaster, philanthropist and entrepreneur Chante Jantjies.

In its announcement, Mara phones said it is exactly one year since the opening of the country’s first smartphone manufacturing facility.

In November 2019 the Mara Group opened its South African-based smartphone manufacturing facility at Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

ITWeb later reported that Nedbank had partnered with Mara Phones to make devices available to the bank’s clients.

It added that the opening of two Mara Phones facilities - one retail and one manufacturing - within a short space of time “represents bold steps for Africa’s most established home-grown smartphone brand in a challenging but promising environment.”

The company said fifty Mara Experience Stores, both company-owned and independently operated, are on the cards before the end of 2022.

Sylvester Taku, Head of Growth at Mara Phones South Africa, said: “The launch of the first Mara Experience Store cements our commitment to expand our retail footprint in South Africa and to make it easier for customers to experience and purchase our smartphones and we are thrilled that the first store is opened by Ms Jantjies, an astute and renowned South African business woman and broadcaster.”

Jantjies added: “Opening the first Mara Experience Store in Soweto’s first mall makes a positive statement about our belief in our bright African future and it connects us to the most populous and bustling places on the continent. As a young South African businesswoman, this is where I can best contribute to our economic upliftment by providing the technology that will help usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“Mara Phones provides quality products at affordable prices and that really appeals to me. Africans don’t have to accept second-best and we don’t have to always pay a premium for what comes standard in the rest of the world. This is our smartphone brand and we are going to use it to connect Mzanzi’s heartbeat.”

Jantjies also said that central to succeeding in South Africa’s most storied urban area is local consumer buy-in. “Loyalty is achieved by contributing to the community and we are going to continue creating experience and development opportunities for educated, yet inexperienced young South Africans and we have ensured that the people hired in the store are young individuals from Soweto.”

The new store enables customers to experience the look and feel of Mara Phones devices while being able to interact with Mara Phones technical specialists in their own community.

According to Mara Phones, the store will not only stock the latest devices, but will also sell the latest accessories including phone covers and screen protectors.

As to the company’s strategy to take on competition in South Africa’s smartphone market, with more devices entering the space, Taku said Mara Phones prides itself in building consumer products with a global appeal and being locally manufactured allows it to drive innovation by being agile, dynamic and responsive.

“We are able to customise and develop devices according to specific requirements. We are currently working with a number of government departments and private organisations to build and customise devices for their specific needs. Along with this, we will be focusing on launching our marketing campaign soon to further drive awareness around Mara Phones as a brand and to position ourselves as a Proudly South African high-tech brand.”

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