Sahara adds AMD

Sahara has picked up Middle East distribution rights for AMD according to regional manager Ashok Chopra. AMD had previously used Dubai-based Thacker as its sole master distributor.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  May 13, 2005

Sahara has picked up Middle East distribution rights for AMD according to regional manager Ashok Chopra. AMD had previously used Dubai-based Thacker as its sole master distributor for the region. However, Sahara Middle East will be purchasing AMD chips from its African distribution operation. “Sahara now has AMD distribution rights in the Middle East, including the Gulf States,” said Chopra. “This makes Sahara the second distributor in the region with a direct buying relationship with AMD. We offer excellent levels of stock availability and can also provide the levels of technical support that channel partners require.” AMD remains one of the few remaining vendors operating in the Middle East through an exclusive master distributor. By awarding Sahara distribution rights and direct purchasing terms — admittedly through its African operation — the vendor now appears to be moving towards a multiple distribution model. For Sahara, which operates as both a distributor and a local assembler, picking up AMD rights in the Middle East is just the start as it attempts to establish itself as a true distribution powerhouse in the region. The company already boasts a powerful product portfolio in Africa and is working hard to extend these distribution rights to cover the Middle East. “In addition to AMD rights in the Middle East, we also have agreements in place with components vendors MSI and ASRock,” continued Chopra. “During the next six months we hope to be awarded Middle East distribution rights for 80% of the brands that we represent in Africa.” Sahara’s current product portfolio in Africa includes a bevy of major brands such as SMC, Creative, Symantec, Samsung, Epson, Lexmark, Intel, Maxtor and Computer Associates among others. Any moves by these vendors to extend Sahara’s distribution rights into the Middle East could have repercussions for existing first-tier distribution partners in the region. Sahara has also set out ambitious PC assembly plans in the Middle East and has established a facility at Jebel Ali with a production capacity of 5,000 desktops, 2,000 notebooks and 100 servers per month operating on a single shift basis. “We expect the assembly operation to run at 80% to 90% capacity and we have the ability to introduce a second shift if we need to supply large orders in short timeframes,” added Chopra. “Sahara hopes to achieve Intel Premier Provider (IPP) status in the Middle East in early June. The PCs that we produce will be sold through channel partners.” Sahara is positioning itself as a premium high quality locally assembled PC brand. According to Chopra, Sahara PCs will be priced between 15% and 20% lower than A-brand vendors. Sahara’s Middle East operation currently consists of three distinct entities: Channel Tech Distribution, Sahara NEWCA and Sahara Computers. “Sahara is already well known in Africa and is committed to making sure that channel partners make money when they work with us,” continued Chopra. “With the proposed airport and the success of the free zone to date, there is a clear potential for Jebel Ali to become a true regional IT hub. Sahara is committed to the Middle East and is here for the long-term,” he concluded.

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