Google has announced the phase-out plan for Google Play Music — with South Africa being one of the first countries that to lose access…
Did they expand to Nintendo consoles but marketing didn’t know how to spell “Wii”? Or is it because the company formerly known as iFix is simply expanding operations?
I’m leaning on the latter, but the company has provided an explanation, though.
“Having being in the business since 2007, and at the time fixing mostly iThings, iFix was the obvious name. However, over the years the phenomenal development and growth of iFix in South Africa through its partnerships and offering, has expanded from specialising in repairing Apple devices to also include the repairs of Samsung, LG and Huawei,” the company explained in a statement.
So what does the future hold for the company then? Ventureburn interviewed founder Alex Fourie, touching on plans for continental expansion, the RiCharge business, and the deal with FNB.
The subscription plan, that FNB deal, and new brands
The last time Burn Media interacted with iFix/WeFix, the company offered a monthly subscription plan for users. The plan would see users paying R69 a month (or R700 a year) and only have to splash out R250 for a repair. The company has since overhauled this option.
“We actually have cancelled it at first… We realised… we’re retailers, not insurers. So we’re just going to be outsourcing that to an insurance company,” Fourie explained. He added that the subscription plan would still be offered by WeFix in stores, albeit at different “pricing scales” and handled by the insurance company.
Existing subscribers will still be able to take advantage of the current plan, though, so won’t be affected by the move.
WeFix has expanded from its early Apple days, now supporting Samsung, Huawei and other brands
The reveal of FNB’s ConeXis smartphones, made by ZTE, sees WeFix teaming up with the bank to fix the phones. Fourie gave background on the partnership.
“We were the first support partners for FNB, the initial FNB phones. And those were very badly built, so nearly all of them broke,” Fourie said, clarifying that these were the initial batch of FNB phones before the bank teamed up with ZTE. “When we get parts, we speak to ZTE, not FNB.”
The partnership with the Chinese firm doesn’t extend to other phones made by the brand at the moment, Fourie clarified.
The company also shed light on which brands fall under their umbrella.
“We support Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, all the FNB devices, (Alcatel) OneTouch… That’s currently it from a phone point of view… And then we do DJI, we do repairs for DJI now,” the founder explained. However, he noted that WeFix doesn’t repair Sony, Microsoft, or Xiaomi devices yet.
RiCharge to team with Uber South Africa
The firm has also seen success with its RiCharge portable charging station solutions, so what’s next in this department?
Fourie said that they’ve reached around 23 countries, but also cited Pokemon Go as being a great boost for the business.
“I can tell you that, for example, at these Pokemon Go events… we would literally sell truckloads full of chargers to people that need charging,” he explained.
Fourie added that they were in talks with Uber about a RiCharge solution. The catalyst for talks came after a friend’s mother got attacked in an Uber vehicle, the WeFix founder said.
“The reason she was attacked was because she couldn’t check… her phone was flat… so she couldn’t see if it was the right registration number,” Fourie explained. “So, we’ve got a product coming out now that’s going out to the Ubers to try and prevent that, because that (attacks) shouldn’t be the case.”
What about the rest of the continent?
As for RiCharge and/or WeFix plans for Africa at large, Fourie said they have had interested parties from “literally every single sub-Saharan country”, specifically pointing out Namibia, Botswana and Kenya.
“We’ve got a lot of interest from all over, but our current focus is to just get our ducks in a row here and then we’ll roll.”
Data and smartphone sales aren’t on the WeFix radar right now
The company sells the Houdt range of accessories as well as the aforementioned DJI drone products, but could we see the firm venturing into phone and data sales?
“We’ve discussed it a lot. I just think it’s a very saturated market,” Fourie said. “When we do something, I’d really like to make a dent. I’d like to… go out there and change things. How exciting can you make it (data and smartphone sales)?”
Featured image: Supplied by WeFix