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Tech is key to solopreneur



Over the past decade, South Africa has seen a sharp increase in the number of people earning an income outside of formal employment. This is driven in part by our country’s high unemployment rate, which currently sits at 29.1%, and is also due to the global move towards a mobile workforce. Solopreneurship, is a specific kind of self-employment and it relies heavily on technology. Different technological tools enable these individuals to run their operations from anywhere they choose and be gainfully rewarded for combining their creativity with technology.

What is a solopreneur?

The term ‘solopreneur’ is often mistaken for ‘entrepreneur’ but there is a key difference between these two terms. A solopreneur is an individual who singlehandedly manages his or her business. Whereas an entrepreneur can hire additional staff to work for them, a solopreneur works alone. Solopreneurs also usually run virtual businesses, providing services where their physical presence is not required, such as freelance writing, online learning and software development. 

App developers, who specialise in software creation and programming, are one of the most common types of solopreneurs. As software engineers, much of their time is dedicated to understanding software algorithms and codes. They create apps that perform specific tasks, address consumer pain points, or simply provide entertainment. App developers play an essential role in ensuring that technology can meet all of our rapidly developing needs as our world becomes more fast paced. 

Huawei is providing platforms that allow solopreneurs to thrive

The success of app developers is driven by their access to certain technological tools such as cloud storage, location services and account login functionality.  However, these tools can come at a great financial cost. It is for this reason that Huawei recently launched its developer programme globally as well as in South Africa, which gives developers access to use the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) ecosystem to build mobile apps without the financial burden of paying for app building infrastructure. Globally, more than 1.07 million developers haveregistered in HMS Ecosystem, more than double the number of last year, giving these developers access to providing apps for Huawei’s 570 million active users. 

HMS incorporates Huawei’s chip, device and cloud capabilities and integrates a set of HMS core services (HMS Core), tools, and platforms for IDE development and testing, as well as HMS apps, including HUAWEI AppGallery, Huawei Browser, and Huawei Video. HMS, together with third-party apps and services on Huawei devices, forms the HMS Ecosystem, an intelligent mobile internet ecosystem.

A 360-degree approach to empowering app developers

HMS provides unified access to the distribution of apps for all devices, spurring developer innovation in the process. The HMS ecosystem features all-scenario capability openness, global smart distribution, full lifecycle operations management, and comprehensive incentive and support mechanisms, which forms an important part of Huawei’s all-scenario intelligent ecosystem.

In order to encourage more developers to integrate qualitative apps to HMS Ecosystem, Huawei has now announces a global investment in its developer programme of $1 billion through its Shining Star Programme. The investment is targeted at incentivising and accelerating global developer innovation aiming to cover skills development and training, infrastructure and technical support as well as marketing support once the apps are published.

As people continue to make alternative work arrangements based on solopreneurship, technology will continue to shape the success of solopreneurs and help drive our economy. Initiatives such as the Huawei Developer Programme are essential in ensuring South Africans can thrive as tech solopreneurs.

App developers with a completed app can visit, or contact the Huawei SA Business Development team on to find out how HUAWEI can support them.


Second-hand smartphone market booms

The worldwide market for used smartphones is forecast to grow to 332.9 million units, with a market value of $67 billion, in 2023, according to IDC



International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.

This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable. Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, says: “In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone. Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)

2018 Market
2023 Market
North America39.022.2%87.226.2%17.4%
Rest of World136.877.8%245.773.8%12.4%

Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023, Dec 2019.

Table Notes: Data is subject to change.
* Forecast projections.

Says Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones: “Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth. Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward.”

According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand me down” or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade.

The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023 (Doc #US45726219), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2023. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.

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Customers and ‘super apps’ will shape travel in 2020s



Customers will take far more control of their travel experience in the 2020s, according to a 2020 Trends report released this week by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

Through independent research with thousands of global travellers – including 500 in South Africa – hundreds of travel professionals and interviews with leaders of some of the world’s biggest travel brands, Travelport uncovered the major forces that will become the technology enablers of travel over the next decade. These include:

Customers in control

Several trends highlight the finding that customers are moving towards self-service options, with 61% of the travellers surveyed in South Africa preferring to hear about travel disruption via digital communications, such as push notifications on an app, mobile chatbots, or instant messaging apps, rather than speaking with a person on the phone. This is especially important when it comes to young travellers under 25, seen as the future business traveler, and managing their high expectations through technology.

Mobile takeover

With the threat of super app domination, online travel agencies must disrupt or risk being disrupted. Contextual messaging across the journey will help. Super app tech giants like WeChat give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, find a date, get food delivery, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. Travel brands that want to deliver holistic mobile customer experiences need to think about how they engage travellers within these super apps as well as in their own mobile channels.

Retail accelerated

In the next year, research shows, we will see an accelerated rate of change in the way travel is retailed and purchased online. This includes wider and more complex multi-content reach, more enriched and comparable offerings, more focus on relevance than magnitude, and an increase in automation that enables customer self-service.

“How customers engage with their travel experience – for instance by interacting with digital ‘bots’ and expecting offers better personalised to their needs – is changing rapidly,” says Adrian Roodt, country manager for Southern Africa at Travelport. “We in the travel industry need to understand and keep pace with these forces to make sure we’re continuing to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone.”

Read the full 2020 Trends report here: 2020 Trends hub.

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