Translating a Chinese approach? Rural distribution and marketing in Ghana’s phone industry

Miao LU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Ghana’s mobile phone markets are currently dominated by a Chinese company called Transsion. Based on 7-month ethnographic research, this article examines Transsion’s distribution and marketing practices in Ghana, which are largely labor-intensive, rural-centric, low value-added, and lower-class-oriented. Taking a historical approach, this article reveals that this business strategy originated in China and has been translated to Ghana by a wide variety of translators. By elaborating various translation scenarios, this article demonstrates that translation as a practice, be it cultural, technological, or managerial, is a complicated process with tensions, adaptations, and innovations. As a tech company from the Global South, Transsion provides a critical case to think beyond the urban-centric and high value-added business model of Silicon Valley-type companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • China-Ghana
  • mobile phone
  • rural marketing
  • translation


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