Mobile market hots up at Gitex

Two Far East vendors are looking to jump into the region's ultra-competitive mobile handset market. Benq will be showcasing its range of handsets from its stand in hall 2, while component giant, AsusTek, is planning to step up the marketing noise around its own collection of mobile phones.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  September 29, 2003

Two Far East vendors are looking to jump into the region's ultra-competitive mobile handset market. Benq will be showcasing its range of handsets from its stand in hall 2, while component giant, AsusTek, is planning to step up the marketing noise around its own collection of mobile phones. Despite displaying their mobile handsets at Gitex, neither vendor is likely to make handsets commercially available until early in 2004.

"We don't have a sure date for introducing our mobile phones into the Middle East," explains Manish Bakshi, chief operating officer & director, Benq. "We will be [piloiting] the mobile phones in India in September. That is the test market. We're looking to bring our phones to this market sometime towards the end of Q4 or even the start of Q1," he adds.

Asus is planning to launch its mobile phone range at the start of next year. The vendor realises the need to ramp up its marketing efforts around its mobile phones if it is to have any chance of grabbing market share. "We are going to have to do a [lot] of marketing to get this off the ground," comments Yasir Alka'r, regional operations manager, Middle East & North Africa, AsusTek Computer.

In the short term, Asus is searching for service providers in the emerging markets in an effort to promote the uptake of its phones. "We are looking at partnering with service providers in the region, in attempt to kick start our handset business," Alka'r adds.

Among Asus' product range will be a model based on the SmartPhone operating system from Microsoft. "There is a rapidly growing demand for these devices, that combine the functionality of a PDA and a phone," claims Alka'r.

Asus is also heavily promoting its range of PDAs at Gitex, as it continues its efforts to expand its product range.

"We're going to really start focusing on our consumer business from the start of next year, when we promote our phones, PDAs and home appliances," he adds.

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