Almasa adds Hitachi hard drives

Almasa IT Distribution has expanded its hard disk drive (HDD) vendor portfolio after putting pen to paper on a Middle East and North Africa distribution deal with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST).

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 12, 2004

Almasa IT Distribution has expanded its hard disk drive (HDD) vendor portfolio after putting pen to paper on a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) distribution deal with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST). Hitachi GST products are available immediately. Almasa also distributes Maxtor hard drives in the Middle East and was awarded a distribution contract covering the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region earlier this year after serving the vendor for almost four years. “The Maxtor product and brand has reached a level of maturity,” explains Parvez Ahmed, sales and marketing director at Almasa IT Distribution. “We now sell 500,000 Maxtor drives a quarter and decided six or seven months ago that we should start looking for another hard drive vendor to work with as well.” “Hitachi GST has a strong product portfolio but does not yet have as much market share in the Middle East as it has in other markets such as Europe,” adds Ahmed. “Hitachi GST gives us access to the notebook drive market as well and only really overlaps with Maxtor in the desktop space.” Almasa IT will avoid cannibalising Maxtor sales. “There is no point in moving money from one pocket to another so the channel we plan to set up with Hitachi will be resellers not working with Maxtor,” says Ahmed. Hitachi currently has EMEA distribution agreements in place with Ingram Micro, Bell Microproducts and Asbis. With only Asbis boasting a meaningful presence in the MENA region, Almasa IT Distribution is confident that it will be able to build up a meaningful and profitable Hitachi business. In contrast, Maxtor now has five authorised distributors covering the Middle East after the recent appointment of eSys. “Almasa is clear about what it intends to do,” continues Ahmed. “I have a clear target segment in the notebook market and plan to nurture Hitachi’s growth like a small plant. Hitachi is building a new factory in China that will ensure strong supply. The profit margin for hard drive distributors and sub-distributors has diminished during the last two quarters. Hitachi will offer more margin opportunities because it is not so widely distributed.” Margins and pricing pressure are hot topics in the global hard drive sector at present. “There is pressure on all the vendors at the moment,” concludes Ahmed. “What has happened is that all of them over-estimated demand and the market for white box PCs is actually shrinking as A-brands compete on price. There has been oversupply and corrective steps are now being taken in terms of production capacity. The supply and demand dynamic should be back in line by the fourth quarter.”

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