Touchmate - David, takes on Asia’s Goliath China

With a broad range of products on show, Touchmate is planning to invade other markets around the world.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  September 27, 2005

Touchmate, in tiny Dubai, is challenging China on its home turf in the manufacturing game. Its strategy is simple, says the computer and accessories maker's export sales manager, Hussam Shaar, "Dubai's labour is far more expensive than China's, so we make our products in China and then beat them in their exports markets such as the UK, where we can sell at Chinese prices." Being in Dubai and using the Jebel Ali freeport as a base gives the company some tax advantages over its global competitors: it doesn't pay any. "The world is now a village and you can sell from anywhere to anywhere," Shaar says. A bold statement from a company which when it got going in 1988 was operating in Dubai, where Shaar puts it "Didn't have any technology but labour was cheap. And now that it has technology, labour is nearly as expensive as Europe's." This is why the firm started off as basically just an assembly plant in the desert that grew worldwide. But it is that vision that allowed Touchmate to grow across the GCC, Russia, Africa, the UK and US in a few years taking on the home boys and the Chinese at the same time. The firm today offers more than 500 products and Touchmate claims specific PC sales of 5000 per month. Touchmate's mission statement shares a view that patially explains its success. In plain words, it shows an understanding of the customer who bigger firms often lose sight of: "Our main objective is to provide all computer and accessory products under one brand, Touchmate, from one unique source at the most competitive prices to our customers to lessen their import headaches from several suppliers." It also understands that customers' needs vary from country to country, which is why it teamed up with a local firm last year to use its knowledge of the British market. As Dubai's David takes on Goliath in the UK market and its founders study British customers, they may well enjoy the tale of England's patron saint: It was Saint George who slew the dragon.

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