First VMK store opens in Abidjan
A company founded by Vérone Mankou, the Congolese entrepreneur behind the first tablet made in Africa, announced the opening of its first VMK store in Abidjan on 19 February 2015. Located in the Treichville commune at Zone 3 C, Immeuble Rive Gauche, this point of sale – which will exclusively sell products from the VMK range – marks the beginning of the Congolese company’s expansion beyond its borders. The Abidjan VMK store, which will ultimately employ around 10 people, will be an addition to VMK’s first-ever store in Brazzaville, which was opened in partnership with the South African operator, MTN.
VMK plans to expand its store locations to five countries in the region by the end of the year. A second store is scheduled to open in the Ivory Coast economic capital, before the opening of three other VMK stores in Kinshasa, Douala and Dakar before the end of 2015. “My underlying ambition is to bridge the digital gap in Africa. These VMK stores are being set up to make new technologies accessible to as many people as possible,” explains Vérone Mankou. “We will offer a top-of-the-range selection of products, aimed at the general public.” The VMK range, which also includes two smartphone models available from FCFA 11,900 and FCFA 19,900 (EUR 18 and EUR 30 respectively) has recently been enhanced by the addition of a premium model, the Elikia L.
This outstanding handset, offered at FCFA 64,900 (EUR 99), comes equipped with a larger screen than its predecessor. Not only that, but VMK is getting ready to launch its second tablet in March. It will be available for less than FCFA 140,000 (EUR 210). “The opening of a store in Abidjan is an essential step in the extension of our Pan-African vision. It is here, at the crossroads of West Africa, that VMK has decided to embark upon conquering the new class of African consumers,” adds Vérone Mankou.
Produced in China until now, VMK devices will shortly be assembled in the soon-to-be factory in the Republic of Congo. This production unit, which is in the process of being built in the Mpila neighbourhood of Brazzaville, has required an investment of nearly two million dollars and will be used exclusively for the VMK range of products. VMK’s Chinese partner company has started training the locals who will be employed at the factory – more than 90 people in total. VMK plans to produce 350,000 units per month.