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Nhava Sells Stake To Rugare Chidembo, To Push Tens Of Thousands Of Nhavas This Year

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Tinashe Shangwa

The past 10 years wouldn't have been possible without you. Thank you!

Tinashe Shangwa
The Nhava Group CEO, Tinashe Shangwa

We visited the Nhava founders yesterday at their Livingstone offices in the Harare Avenues. We had an interesting discussion with them; from how Nhava was founded, their vision, the range of laptops and expansion plans.

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Nhava is the technology company that launched the Nhava range of netbooks last year in April. The Nhava netbooks became the first locally designed and branded laptops in Zimbabwe. The reception by the Zimbabweans was mixed; general acceptance by mainstream consumers but some skepticism by from the tech community. Such has been the typical response to new ICT gadgets entrepreneurs. Especially those linked to the east.

Tinashe Shangwa, the Nhava CEO, revealed to us yesterday that the founders have sold a sizeable stake to local entrepreneur, Rugare Chidembo. Chidembo is former nonexecutive director of KMAL, and is now MD for Pinnacle Holdings. He’s is also part of the consortium of local entrepreneurs who acquired Econet’s shareholding in Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd (KMAL) in September last year.

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According to Shangwa, the move was necessary to recapitalise and help fund a local assembly plant for the company’s products. The local assembly plant will be commissioned before the end of 2010. Currently Nhava laptops are manufactured in Hong Kong, where Nhava outsources the work to technology partners.

The Nhava CEO also disclosed that they sold a modest 500 units last year but are looking to sell tens of thousands this year. The company has surpassed last year’s total units. Nhava is banking on the recent approval by the government’s Salary Services Bureau of a stop order facility with Nhava to enable civil servants to buy Nhava laptops on a hire purchase scheme.

Asked about the not-so-positive perception the tech community in Zimbabwe has about their products, the Nhava CEO had this to say: “It’s not a one day process to gain trust especially from that particular sector. You win them one by one, day by day. Since we launched, we’ve managed to gain some loyalty from that group of people. They are hard to get to your side, but we’re getting there.”

On the product front, Nhava will be launching a tablet PC called the Nhava Maestro to compete with some international tablet brands entering the market. The Maestro and a few more new Nhava gadgets will be announced at Nhava’s one year anniversary to be held in Harare in the coming weeks.  There was mention of a Nhava smartphone as well. Interesting.

Tinashe Shangwa said he’s touched by the Nhava products’ impact on the lives of some ordinary Zimbabweans. “Our vision is to put a laptop in each and every household in Zimbabwe” he said. He narrated how a 54 year old civil servant buying a Nhava recently, expressed his joy:  “handina kumbobvira ndakafunga kuti ndichaita computer yangu” (I never dreamt I’d own my own computer).

Current laptop models on sale include the Nhava Mist, Laser One (pictured below), Cross Over, Companion,  Hero and Viara. Prices range from US $405 to US $900 depending on the processing power and size of display. All machines come with a 1.3MP webcam, Wi-fi, a 160GB hard drive. We didn’t get the specs of the processing speed of the laptops, but they’re all Intel powered.

The Nhava Laser One
The Nhava Laser One

We’ll post the transcription of the full interview here at a future date. Check back.


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15 thoughts on “Nhava Sells Stake To Rugare Chidembo, To Push Tens Of Thousands Of Nhavas This Year

  1. This is a great step towards developing Nhava, well done guys! Its great to see that influential people like Chidembo are willing to take a risk and invest in start up companies run by young individuals.

  2. check the 4th word in this article for their link. their contact details are on their website.

  3. I like the concept, its about time we have a local player in the market. However, my first point of contact with them, which would be their website leaves much to be desired! I mean whatever happened to a website being a sales and marketing tool??? I would like to think that this is probably why there is much skepticism from consumers.
    Also have you taken one for a test drive? It would be nice to have a product review.

  4. Hey Nyasha,
    I guess they fall under one of Zimbabwe’s broken sites. Will try to get one of the latest ones for a spin. Keep checking in the next coupla weeks.

  5. Congrats to Nhava, but the idea of stop orders should not only fall for the Civil servants, the option should also spread to other workers too. Just a suggestion…

  6. guys everything having being said and done, we still don’t know how to contact u, i’ve heard and read abt u but still don’t know where and how to contact you, got a few numbers online but they don’t work.
    pliz send me your contact details

  7. Its a good idea but as for pricing its expensive u can buy a single hp net book with similar specs in dubai for $270 and even much cheaper if bought in large quantities and as it is u can buy an hp net book localy from $400

  8. i think if Nhava is goin 2 compete fruitfully with other well established players like Hp,Acer,Dell,etc,it wil have to market itself much more,much much more.i personally hrd abt Nhava abt 3yrs ago bt until nw ive hrd very little else abt the company.a gd example,which we all shun but is a blistering success is the G-tide label,they saw their market& marketed themselves agressively.Now,everybody eithr owns/ownned/heard abt a G-Tide.if Nhava goes on at ths rate it myt just be overtaken by other future potential plyers in the sector due to the attractive economic state.

  9. Website Currently Suspended
    Please Contact Lefao Solutions if you own this domain.
    Maybe some of that money from Mr Chidembo should go and pay for hosting the website

  10. Well they are yet to focus on what we expect as IT profesionals. If you dont have a fully functional site you are dead to start with 🙂 .

    Well the branding look just like an ASPIRE ONE KKKKKKK FATAL FAIL ON BRANDING OAKS i wont lie Thats a Mimik no wonder why they think you from the EAST We know of Aspire one and thats how they write their yenyu Ini Nhava Aspire one haa ahh.

    Focus on branding and company structure before launching. I like the laptop design nice design BAAD branding. consider redoing alll your weapons in your brand dont launch without a site. Cant you get even one from Yola thats a FATAL FAAAAIIIL CEO

    Well I kno of IT CEO they dont wear ties. Be Geek Be real rebrand Im out NERD

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