Netgear ready to roll

Networking solutions vendor Netgear is poised to ramp up its presence in the Middle East market during 2006. The NASDAQ-quoted vendor has appointed Ahmed Zeidan as channel sales manager for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa as it looks to boost its regional channel engagement model.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 13, 2006

Networking solutions vendor Netgear is poised to ramp up its presence in the Middle East market during 2006. The NASDAQ-quoted vendor has appointed Ahmed Zeidan as channel sales manager for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa as it looks to boost channel engagement, build brand equity and raise awareness of its extensive product portfolio. Netgear, which has already forged a strong regional relationship with Saudi Arabian distributor NASCO, will now look to evolve a multiple distributor strategy in the region as it creates channels-to-market that reflect the breadth of the product portfolio. The vendor produces a wide range of wireless network products including switches, adapters, routers and gateways. “We have built a strong partnership with NASCO, which has already established the Netgear brand in the region,” explained Zeidan. “The breadth of our product portfolio — aimed at both the home and the business environment — means that we need a channel capable of reaching out to retailers, resellers, VARs, systems integrators and ISPs.” Netgear plans to develop in-country distribution models in line with the size of each national market. For large markets this may mean signing up individual partners to focus on each specific customer base. “In large markets it may be the case that we appoint a retail-focused distributor alongside partners focused on the other target customer areas,” explained Zeidan. “In mid-sized markets we may look for a partner that covers two customer bases — VARs and ISPs for example. And in the small countries we may look for one partner that covers the entire market opportunity.” Netgear has already made preliminary contact with one major Middle East distributor as it looks to extend its regional reach and supplement the channel development work carried out by NASCO in key markets such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait and the UAE. Netgear operates a structured second-tier channel programme in other regions, but there are no plans to launch the scheme in the Middle East yet. “The main priority now is to educate the market on Netgear’s status as an A-brand vendor in its product area, build the appropriate channels and ensure that there is excellent stock availability in the region,” explained Zeidan. Netgear posted global sales of US$450m for the year ending December 2005 and pulled in profits of close to US$34m. With a market capitalisation of US$590m, Netgear is a serious player in the wireless networking arena. According to data from Synergy Research Group, Netgear was the third largest supplier worldwide of SOHO and home wireless LAN equipment in 2005 behind D-Link in second and Linksys in top spot.

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