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Tecno Telecom, a mobile part producing company headquartered in Hong Kong and with a mobile phones assembly plant in Ethiopia, has awarded six students from Addis Ababa University (AAU) for winning “Tecno Mobile’s Application Challenge 4 Ethiopia”. The competition was intended to discover the best mobile phone content developers in the country.
“I am very happy about winning the prize. I thought I would be one of the finalists. Being a winner is very delightful,” said Ahmed Mohamed, a graduate of Haremaya University and second year Control Engineering Student at AAU after winning the 50 thousand birr in prize last Tuesday at Hilton Addis Ababa. Prior to joining Addis Ababa University Ahmed was an instructor at Adama Science and Technology University.     
Winning the competition meant receiving a cash prize and laying the foundation to work with the company and its business affiliates like Afmibi, software developer and a partner of Tecno Telecom. The company has given out 290 thousand birr in total of which half of the prizes went to the institution that host the winning students. Techno awarded 100 thousand birr to the first winner which is equally divided between the student and the institution hosting the student. The company has also given out 100 thousand birr for two students who won the second place each receiving 25 thousand birr while the institution got 50 thousand birr in total sum. Three of the third place winners were awarded 15 thousand birr each while the institutions pocketed 90 thousand birr in total.
Close to 150 students applied for the challenge out of which only 12 students submitted their application. The panel of five judges selected from Tecno Telecom, Ministry of Information Technology and Communication, and Afmobi, Tecno’s content development partners, shortlisted six of them as finalists. Only one university dominated the competition.
“We have contacted all the universities in the country and even posted announcements in the notice board of each school in addition to announcing it on newspapers and radio stations. But we have not received as many proposals as we had expected. All the entries submitted came from individuals. We need to create a team submission as well, since no successful application was developed by a single individual,” said Levi Girma, an Ethiopian partner of the mobile assembling company.               
Tecno inaugurated its second assembly plant this past July. The new plant has a capacity to assemble 200 thousand units of handsets per month, up from the previous factory which has an installed capacity of 60 thousand units. The telecom company has already introduced 13 different brands including a smart phone.
Tecno entered Ethiopian market in September 2011, after five years of operation in Hong Kong. It assembles mobile phones that operate in three local language; Amharic, Oromiffa and Tigregna. The company owns three mobile phone part manufacturing units which have a combined capacity to produce 20 million parts in China.  The company has sold out 18 million Tecno Mobile handsets in Africa last year. This makes the company one of the top ten mobile phone marketers in Africa.
The mobile assembling company has created 93 job opportunities of which eight of them are Chinese expatriates. When the second factory becomes fully operational, the company will have 315 staff. This number will reach 615 when the company starts manufacturing mobile phones in its third phase of project implementation.
The company plans to manufacture mobiles phones in Ethiopia in its third project implementation phase. By then, its production capacity will swell to 400 thousand. Currently, the company is assembling 70 thousand pieces per month pushing the installed capacity of the factory by 10 thousand more units.
There are more than 18.5 million mobile phone subscribers in Ethiopia. This number is expected to reach 50 million in the coming three years. In 2011, 1.6 billion different brands of mobile handsets were shipped globally.