Consumer technology market flourishing in the Kingdom

BenQ claims demand for digital technology by youth in Saudi Arabia has overtaken sales in the corporate sector for the first time, as the Kingdom's youth demand latest technology.

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By  Angela Prasad Published  September 2, 2004

BenQ says that consumer sales for its digital lifestyle products in Saudi Arabia are outstripping those of the corporate sector for the first time, as the Kingdom’s youth continue to demand the most innovative and interactive technology available. “Young consumers in the Kingdom have embraced digital technology and are demanding the most up-to-date products to complement their lives,” says Robert Dung, managing director of BenQ Middle East. “BenQ’s corporate sales still remain strong; however, we have seen a significant upsurge in sales from the consumer market to the extent that they are now the major focus of our business.” Since establishing itself in the Middle East two years ago, BenQ has recorded strong growth in Saudi Arabia across its entire portfolio. Demand has been particularly strong for its range of LCD TV’s, digital projectors, and Joybook range of notebooks PCs. A BenQ commissioned research study from ACNielsen into the buying habits of 15 to 29 year-olds, has shown that young consumers in the Kingdom are prepared to invest their money in well-marketed IT brands, particularly on notebooks, digital cameras and MP3 players. “There is a digital technology change occurring in Saudi Arabia, and consumers are focusing on the benefits and value lifestyle products can add to their busy schedules, where previously technology was seen primarily as a business oriented necessity,” says Dung. BenQ’s vision of the ‘digital hub’ has captured the imagination of Saudi consumers, and is a contributing factor to its recent success. “Interoperability is a key selling point of our technology,” he adds. “We have created a hub where, digital cameras, MP3 players, and projectors can be fully integrated with our Joybook PCs easily and without compatibility problems.” Supported by its network of distributors and resellers in the Kingdom, BenQ is securing a significant market share across all its lines, with digital lifestyle products featuring strongly. Saleh Ali Al-Sagri, chairman and chief executive officer, Safari Electronics, a BenQ partner in the Kingdom says: “We have witnessed a strong interest in BenQ LCD TVs over the last eight to ten months, with a high proportion of customers being from the 18 to 35 age group. The attractive design characteristics and new model updates is encouraging people in Saudi to invest in LCD technology.” “Over the last year we have seen a significant demand from young consumers for the latest consumer technology,” says Dr Mahmoud Barrawi, vice president of ESAP, another BenQ partner in Saudi Arabia. “People in the Kingdom are heavily focused on having high specification notebooks, cameras, and projectors, making their purchase decisions on how each product can work with the other, and add value to their enjoyment experience.” Revenue figures from BenQ demonstrate the drive to switch to lifestyle technology. In 2001, BenQ posted revenues of US$2 billion; in 2003 they rose to US$3.6 billion. That figure is expected to increase in 2004, as new ranges of BenQ notebooks, LCD TVs and projectors are launched.

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