Intel drives channel expansion

Intel plans to push even deeper into the Middle East, Turkey and Africa markets by working with its existing distributors to launch more in-country operations. The CPU giant also expects to recruit even more resellers into its channel programme.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 18, 2004

Intel plans to get up close and personal with the emerging market opportunities in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, with further development of in-country distribution presence at the heart of its strategy. This regional rollout will look to capitalise on Intel’s first-mover advantage in the region. Existing distributors — working closely with Intel — are assessing the opportunity to expand into target countries and even specific cities. “I think we do have a first mover advantage because Intel has been in this region for a while,” says Daryl Ganas, head of channels for Intel in EMEA. “We just want to take the next steps by up-levelling our current channel programmes in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa and making the effort to go deeper and further as well.” Intel has already made great strides in expanding its regional channel and building local touch points for resellers and assemblers to deal with. Whereas 70% of Intel’s Middle East sales were being made through Dubai a few years ago, that figure is now down to under 50%. “Dubai continues to be a great operational trading hub with very strong logistics,” adds Ganas. “We need to get our channel partners focused on brand building and becoming service providers, not spend all their time worrying about logistics. The Intel distribution engine needs to be on the ground and local in terms of pricing, access and credit at a country level, so partners can easily access inventory management and everything else they need. In-country distribution provides better levels of service, financing and availability.” Intel presented a series of awards to regional distributors during its recent reseller channel event held in Cyprus. EMPA walked off with the coveted award for ‘Role Modelling Operations Excellence H2 2003 in Emerging Markets’ while Logicom picked up the prestigious ‘Highest Customer Growth in META Region’ award. “During the course of EMPA’s relationship with Intel, our entire team has worked extremely hard to ensure meeting the highly set standards and targets,” says Shibu John Mathew, Intel product manager at EMPA. “The hard work is paying off and we are delighted to receive this award.” “All of our distributors have done an excellent job in this region,” says Ganas. “Logicom has continued to excel at in-country expansion. It is getting in there in places like Kuwait and helping us build that channel. Logicom has done many strong in-country moves, continues to want to do them, and sees this strategy as a competitive advantage.” During the last two years, Intel has added some 10,000 new channel partners in emerging markets. Once distributors set up operations on the ground, Intel looks to augment this by increasing recruitment and marketing efforts in the area. The vendor is still very much in rollout mode for its channel in the Middle East and Africa. With every step Intel takes down the channel expansion road, it raises the barriers to entry for competitors yet to make such a long-term investment in building a regional channel.

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