HP targets counterfeits in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria

HEWLETT-PACKARD (HP) has started an anti-counterfeit war against fake products on the local market using its brand and threatening the global IT firm’s foothold in the African market.

Announcing their expansion into Tanzania and Uganda recently, HP officials said the fast growing IT demand in emerging markets had caused a surge in counterfeit products, and in turn, massive losses for genuine manufacturers.

Moving into Africa now makes sense on two fronts for HP: To fight counterfeits and at the same time, consolidate its market share.

“We still see Africa as a solid growth market similar to India and China 15 years ago.

This is why we are entering Uganda and other emerging African markets in order to consolidate our market share across the globe.

In spite of the harsh economic indicators like inflation, we are optimistic that demand for new IT products will pick up,” said Stefanos Giourelis, managing director HP Africa.

In Uganda and Tanzania, the firm has recruited local dealers to grow HP into a formidable competitor against Dell, which enjoys 60 percent market share. HP, on the other hand, remains dominant in the computer server market, with 65 percent market share coupled with a 30 percent share of the laptop market. Dell in comparison enjoys 35 percent of the latter segment.

In the Tanzanian market, the Fair Competition Commission said IT accessories are the most counterfeited products, with the Commission seizing and destroying products worth $1.83 million between May 2005 and June 2011.

HP was founded in 1939 by David Packard and Bill Hewlett in California, USA. Its range of products consists of personal computers and servers. HP annual revenues grew from roughly $500 million in 1971 to more than $90 billion to date amidst stiff competition from IBM and Dell.