Zai rebrands and launches e-commerce

Zai Technologies seeks to broaden assembly business into wider range of IT and consumer electronics products and launches e-commerce trial.

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By  Paul Barthram Published  May 29, 2003

Al Faisaliah’s Zai PC factory is branching out into new areas. The Zai brand has been relaunched as Zai Technologies, to reflect a wider product offering, and the company is also set to offer its products through a build-to-order web site.

The company is currently in discussions with a European printer manufacturer to begin assembly in Saudi, and is also talking to a TV manufacturer. With the coming of GCC customs union, products assembled in the GCC will be duty free for export to other member countries, and Zai wants to take full advantage of this, said Bassam Abu Baker, general manager of Zai.

“We have changed the brand, we are now Zai Techologies, as we are open for any products now, not necessarily PCs. We will specialise in production assembly, there are several manufacturers who would like to have an assembly line here in Saudi, to export to the GCC duty free,” Abu Baker explained.

Recently the company has launched Zai PC servers, and is set to begin production of notebooks this month. The company is also testing e-commerce, through a build-to-order web site offering Zai products.

“We have just launched our site, as a soft launch for the next three months, as a test period. We are starting with PCs and servers, and will add notebooks within a month,” he said.

The site is a joint venture between Zai, Aramex and Saudi ISP Awalnet. Users will be able to configure PCs online to their specification, with delivery through Aramex. In order to get around the lack of credit card penetration in the Kingdom, the service will be operating as cash on delivery to begin with.

“Nobody does e-commerce in Saudi, and nobody trusts credit cards, so the Aramex solution seems reasonable,” said Abu Baker. “We are talking to two local banks who want to launch credit cards for e-commerce, which might build confidence for users.”

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