A-Link Technologies, a Chinese firm will soon assemble laptops and radios in Rwanda with an initial investment worth $0.5 million (Rwf283.7 million).
This will consolidate Rwanda’s stance as an Information Technology hub in the region whereas the firm increases its product line. Currently, it assembles mobile phones, making Rwanda the first country in the East African region to host such a plant.
According to Edward Yin, the President of A-Link Technologies, the two projects (laptop and radio) will be on the market by end of July this year.
“The laptops are expected by the end of next month, whereas the radio project is expected later on,” he explained.
Adding, “Our partners in China are currently developing the laptop chips.Once ready and shipped into the country, alongside other parts, the laptops will be assembled and sold on the local market.”
Management predicted that a laptop, which will be christened ‘A-Link’ like other products assembled, will cost about $400 (Rwf 226,960). This is $216 (Rwf113,480) less than the current price.
Currently, a laptop on the local in the likes of HP, Acer or Dell costs Rwf350,000 ($616).
Yin stressed that the projected price for the A-Link laptops may drop depending on the market, though the investment decision was attracted by their high prices.
Initially, A-Link had planned to venture into assembling television sets and radio after starting its operations with mobile phones last year.
However the Minister in the President’s Office in charge of ICT, Romain Murenzi was not aware of the developments when contacted. He promised to make an official comment after meeting with the Chinese investors soon.
Mobile phone assembling was the first project by A-Link with an investment of $0.5 million (Rwf283.7 million). It was after government started laying of fibre optic cables for wireless broadband in Kigali and the suburbs, a new technology intended to increase coverage of high speed wireless internet.
Since then, it has produced about 6,000 handsets, with an average output of 200 phones per day.
With already 30 Rwandans employed to assemble phones, the two projects (laptop and television) are expected to also employ more 30 citizens.
A-Link is an affiliate to China link Digital and Technology Company Limited, also a Chinese based electronics company.
After Rwanda, the company is targeting the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region.