Fujitsu Siemens Computers plans Middle East PC plant

Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) is the latest international hardware vendor to announce plans for a local assembly plant in the Middle East. The company is currently in negotiations with two governments in the region and will announce a decision within the next few months

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 24, 2005

Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) is the latest international hardware vendor to announce plans for a local assembly plant in the Middle East. The company is currently in negotiations with two governments in the region and will announce a decision within the next few months, one of its senior executives told IT Weekly. “We want to reach two goals with this [plan],” said Habib Bouchrara, FSC’s vice president for international sales. “First of all is delivery time. This is the most important one, as all our PCs are coming from Germany today but we need to be very quick to address some of the large local governmental tenders. Our goal is to reach five working days for deliveries to the region. The other goal is to have more customised product available for this market, to be able to provide customised products to certain sectors — mainly the government and education,” he added. Hardware rival HP has been operating an assembly plant in Saudi Arabia since last year, with Acer also recently announcing its intent to open a facility in the Kingdom (see IT Weekly, 5-11 March 2005). However, Bouchrara declined to comment on which countries FSC was looking at locating its operation in. “We are working today on two locations and hopefully in a couple of months we will be able to announce it to the market,” he said. However, by locating a plant in Saudi Arabia, FSC would improve its chances of capturing large government contracts in the Kingdom. Last month, Mohammad Ebrahim Al Swaiyel, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Communications & Information Technology Commission (CITC), said PC manufacturers that have set up operations in the Kingdom will be favoured over other suppliers for the ‘PCs for homes’ initiative, which will see one million PCs delivered to home users over the next five years. “Those [vendors] that have set up assembly lines stand to gain from this initiative as they were there before the others,” Al Swaiyel explained. Bouchrara acknowledged that opening a local PC plant could help FSC win contracts such as the CITC one. “Providing local content to technology product gives you by definition advantage over your competitors,” he said. “At the same time, by having local assembly facilities we have a better grip on services around this product both in terms of building confidence and also in allowing the local country to get access to parts and servicing of products,” Bouchrara added. “We try to transfer technology and know-how, on the other side we have higher brand awareness on our technology. This is something that I think is important for decision makers in these countries,” he claimed. FSC has already begun operating a spare parts hub for the region, which now provides 85% of spare parts for its PC and notebooks products, Bouchrara said. The German vendor has also opened training facilities in Dubai Internet City (DIC) to provide its partners with specialised training courses, he added. The next few months will also see FSC roll out some promotional programmes for its PC and notebook products, Bouchrara said.

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