International business is a unique civilizational phenomenon due to its scale and nature. Every year the concept of domestic business becomes more challenging to separate from the global one for marketing specialists and economists (Peng and Meyer, 2016). Markets are constantly intersecting, and their players are tirelessly looking for new promising, and profitable fields. Africa is one of them because its population is rapidly expanding, industrializing, urbanizing, and digitalizing (Leke and Signe, 2019). This paper is an overview of how Apple, a prominent global market actor, is strengthening its presence on the continent.
Modes of Entry Applied By Apple in the African Market
Expectedly, Apple applies the same foreign market entry modes in the African market as those used for other global sectors, which are exporting, licensing, and franchising. Watson et al. (2018, p. 46) define exporting as selling and shipping by a business entity of “its domestically manufactured goods to a foreign distributor in the desired market without requiring a physical presence in the country.” According to them, commercial organizations like Apple prefer licensing and franchising because these “allow firms to enter international markets by assigning most of the capital risk to local agents” (Watson et al., 2018, p. 46). In addition to being low risk, all three described entry approaches are easy to execute, so Apple uses them in all global markets.
Apple and Broad Differentiation’s Application in the African Market
A brief inquiry into the subject revealed that Apple uses broad differentiation as a paramount and central way of doing international business in African nations. Gupta (2021, p. 376) notes that “broad differentiation involves developing products or services that are unique in the minds of customers and aimed at the mass market.” Interestingly, this model is usually used by emerging firms and is effective mainly in small businesses (Gupta, 2021). It can be said that Apple Inc. represents a paradoxical yet successful example of a global corporation using practices that are generally considered atypical and counterproductive for its market scale and influence.
The first recommendation is to actively add diverse local cultural images and symbols of Africa to its products. Marketing experts believe it is efficient if a firm wishes to expand its presence in a desired foreign economic sector (Chen, Liu and Gong, 2021). The conceptual and visual combination of corporate and national or ethnic imageries increases purchase likelihood (He and Wang, 2017). This marketing and advertising move will also reinforce Apple’s positive brand image among African consumers.
Unfortunately, many developing countries in Africa have difficulty building resilient, diversified, and robust economies, and many of them have large financially disadvantaged groups. The advent of affordable digital and online technologies on the continent has enabled many Africans to find financial stability (Evans, 2018). The second piece of advice is to adopt a focused, low-cost strategy whose aim would be an economically disadvantaged target audience. Surprisingly, researchers found that low-cost tactics significantly rise in firm performance (Kankam-Kwarteng, Osman and Donkor, 2019). The third recommendation for Apple is the implementation of a best-cost strategy. According to marketing scholars, it is another practical way for business entities to increase their competitiveness of the company (Qasemzada, 2021). Low prices or their sharp decline and the remaining high functionality of products and services increase brand loyalty (Costa Filho, Falcao, and de Mendonça Motta, 2020). This academic statement applies to both wealthy consumers and low-income representatives of the target audience.
This paper describes Apple’s strategies and methods to conquer the high-tech consumer goods market niche in Africa. For example, this representative of Big Tech was found to use such modes of entry as exporting, franchising, and licensing. Broad differentiation is Apple’s favorite transnational business strategy both in Africa and globally. Recommendations include marketing and advertising by combining native African symbols with the company’s imagery and adopting focused low-cost and best-cost models.
Chen, X., Liu, Y. and Gong, H. (2021, December) ‘Apple Inc. strategic marketing analysis and evaluation’, 2021 Proceedings of the 2021 3rd International Conference on Economic Management and Cultural Industry (ICEMCI 2021). Guangzhou, China. Paris: Atlantis Press, pp. 3053-3061.
Costa Filho, M. C., Falcao, R. P. and de Mendonça Motta, P. C. (2020) ‘Brand loyalty among low-income consumers?’, Qualitative Market Research, 24(2), pp. 260-280.
Evans, O. (2018) ‘Connecting the poor: The internet, mobile phones and financial inclusion in Africa’, Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, 20(6), pp. 568-581.
Gupta, V. K. (2021) Small business: Creating value through entrepreneurship. Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons.
He, J. and Wang, C. L. (2017) ‘How global brands incorporating local cultural elements increase consumer purchase likelihood: An empirical study in China’, International Marketing Review, 34(4), pp. 463-479.
Kankam-Kwarteng, C., Osman, B. and Donkor, J. (2019) ‘Innovative low-cost strategy and firm performance of restaurants: The moderation of competitive intensity’, Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 13(3), pp. 266-281.
Leke, A. and Signe, L. (2019) Spotlighting opportunities for business in Africa and strategies to succeed in the world’s next big growth market. Web.
Peng, M. and Meyer, K. (2016) International business. 2nd edn. Andover: Cengage Learning.
Qasemzada, I. (2021) ‘Ways to increase the competitiveness of service enterprises based on marketing strategies’, International Journal of Business, Management and Accounting, 1(2). Web.
Watson IV, G. F., et al. (2018) ‘International market entry strategies: Relational, digital, and hybrid approaches’ Journal of International Marketing, 26(1), pp. 30-60.