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i2 breaks US$2bn sales barrier

by Stuart Wilson, Thursday 10 April 2008

Mobile phone distribution giant i2 has revealed that its gross sales hit US$2bn in 2007. i2, which has distribution and retail operations across the Middle East and Africa, doubled the number of Nokia handsets it sold year-on-year to 12.3 million in 2007 as gross sales rocketed 43%.

Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid, CEO at i2, said: “The quality of i2’s products and services and the strategic implementation of our expansion plan have resulted in achieving record sales. We promise that our success will drive us to reach higher goals in the future. We are looking forward 2008 which promises to be another successful year for i2.”

i2 does not intend to rest on its laurels in 2008 and plans to boost the number of Nokia handsets it shifts to a massive 16.9 million units – up 37% from full year 2007. i2 reckons that it can boost sales in 2008 by a cool US$300m to push its annual revenues up to the US$2.3bn mark.

Currently, i2 has a presence in 22 markets across the Middle East and Africa. Over the past year, i2’s employee base has increased to 2,676 from 2,300. In addition to its distribution operations, the company also operates 340 retail stores with more than 50 of these stores located in Saudi Arabia.

i2 plans to set up a base in Johannesburg, South Africa to oversee all of the companies African operations. The company has also reiterated its commitment to opening more retail outlets in the Middle East. i2 recently opened their flagship store in Saudi Arabia, which is their first digital outlet offering an extensive range of IT products and mobiles from a number of A-brand vendors. i2 also has plans to open new stores in malls in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Not content with its prominent position in the Middle East and African markets, i2 also plans to tap into a major market in the Sub-Asia continent. “Our intention is to help drive growth in the telecommunication industry by acquiring new businesses and guaranteeing great service,” added Al Sunaid.

Additionally, i2 has also been granted the approval to acquire the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in Jordan – a deal that is in line with i2’s plan to expand and develop their services and values.

“Acquiring the MVNO license opens up a whole new channel of business, allowing i2 to act as a total communications service provider, offering customer support, value-added services, retail packages and other options,” said Al Sunaid.

In November, 2007, i2 was ranked 32nd amongst the top 100 largest companies in Saudi Arabia, based on various aspects such as revenue, assets, capital, net profit, growth, number of employees and other criteria. i2 also picked up three awards at the annual Nokia NWA conference. i2 Egypt and i2 Tunisia received ‘Best Product Availability’ awards, i2 Senegal won the ‘Best Retail Initiative’ award and, in early 2007, i2 was named ‘Fastest Growing Company in KSA’.

“We have a strong and exclusive partnership with Nokia,” said Al Sunaid. “We are proud that we were recognised by this valued partner; these acknowledgments underscore the success of our business plan, which is developing a solid distribution network and a well-structured logistics operation in the region.”

Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid was named one of the GCC’s Top 100 Executives in 2007. Al Sunaid commented: “Through our loyal and hard working team, I have high aspirations to turn i2 into one of the top three mobile phone providers globally in five years.”

Can i2 maintain its stellar growth rate in 2008 and beyond? Have your say below - just click on ’Reply to this article’

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