Dubai: French smartphone start-up Wiko aims to sell around 20,000 mid-range devices per month in the UAE and re-enter the power retail segment in the first half of this year.

Kashif Siddiqui, head of sales at Wiko UAE, told Gulf News that the company sold around 16,000 units per month last year without being present in some of the major retailers in the UAE.

“The return on investment with the power retailers was not that good last year, so our focus was on independent retailers,” he said.

By appointing National Store, a consumer electronics retailer in the UAE, he said that the agreement will help to improve its brand image and strengthen the brand’s presence in the independent retail market, as this market provides better reach and returns with less investments.

Founded in 2011, Wiko is present is over 30 countries and has sold more than 10 million phones globally in 2016. In 2011, the brand sold only 150 units.

According to research firm GfK, the brand is ranked number two after Samsung in the open market in France and is also in the top five in Western Europe.

Salah Khoory, General Manager, National Store, said that partnering with Wiko is part of National Store’s future strategy to diversify the business of the company, while creating a strong base in the mobile and IT category.

“Wiko is a young and fresh brand with a lot of potential which will add a strong new category to the company’s portfolio. Our aim is to further fortify its visibility in this segment and then move into increasing its presence through power retailers,” he said.

When asked how National Store is going to compete with top brands as the mid-range segment is very competitive and the retail segment is not doing well due to a weak consumer confidence, he said the aim is to take away market share from OEM brands operating in the country.

“The consumer electronics industry will be weak for the first three quarters and expected to pick up in the last quarter,” he said.

Didier Carmeille, regional director for Wiko Middle East and North Africa, said that Wiko came to the UAE in 2014 with an ambition of achieving 10 per cent of the market share.

“This ambition continues for us and with the right partnership with National Store, and we expect to achieve it very soon,” she said.