Laos’ first domestic smartphone brand will be introduced to shops and agencies in Vientiane and the country’s provinces this month after a local IT company began displaying the product at the its showroom last week.
The phone, branded ALO!, is marketed by a Lao-owned company, ALO Technology Sole Co Ltd, located in Vientiane. The current version of the phone called ALO! M5 runs on Android 6.0 over a quad-core CPU at 4G connectivity, has a 13-megapixel camera and one gigabyte storage, dual SIM, a five-inch touchscreen display and most other features current smartphones have, including GPS.
The phone is currently advertised 1,1 million kip, which is about $135 – quite low given the average production price of a state-of-the-art brand smartphone at an OEM manufacturer of presently around $250.
Germany-educated company chairman and CEO Thanousone Phonamat acknowledged that it would be difficult to compete with leading foreign smartphone brands in Laos such as Samsung, Huawei and Apple’s iPhone, thus he will focus with ALO! phones on students and educational institutions in a first step.
The company now has five dealers in Vientiane and it hopes to have one agency in each province.
“Next year, we hope to have ALO! shops and service centers in all provinces,” Thanousone said.
ALO Technology Sole Co Ltd. was established in 2015 is part of a larger IT consulting, IT training and technology group called Top Value Services Sole Co. Ltd. in Vientiane. They are the only authorized Microsoft OEM partner in Laos and also have cooperations with Dell, Cisco, HP, Asus and other global IT companies. Thanousone did not disclose where the phone is actually produced, while observers say its most likely from a Chinese contract manufacturer.
ALO, besides smartphones, produces its own brand of IT equipment including tablets, and all-in-one systems.
“It is possible that we may enter the ASEAN market in the future,” Thanousone said, adding that the brand will be present at various fairs and events to make it known better to target groups in ASEAN.