Samsung restructures regional IT sales model

Samsung has restructured its Middle East sales model for IT products. Samsung Gulf's IT team has been handed an expanded role with regional responsibility for the vendor's current Middle East hardware portfolio, which includes printers, monitors and components.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  October 8, 2006

Samsung has restructured its Middle East sales model for IT products. Samsung Gulf's IT team has been handed an expanded role with regional responsibility for the vendor's current Middle East hardware portfolio, which includes printers, monitors and components. Explaining the logic behind the move, J.H. Park, president at Samsung Gulf Electronics, said: “We have restructured the way that we approach IT sales in the Middle East. Instead of each in-country Samsung operation looking after its territory, Samsung Gulf is now taking on a region-wide role. “For the IT side of the business, this is the most sensible model because of the nature of the routes-to-market used,” he explained. Prior to the change, Samsung MEA had dealt with various in-country subsidiaries such as Samsung Saudi Arabia, Samsung Egypt and also Samsung Gulf as primary points of contact for IT sales in the region. Under the new model, Samsung Gulf’s IT division will manage IT sales across the entire region including in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt — markets that had previously been handled by the in-country Samsung operation. Before the restructuring occurred, Samsung Gulf’s IT team had been focused on the GCC markets with the exception of Saudi Arabia. “We are not using this new regional model for the consumer electronics products because that is an end-user led market where the relationship with the retail chains in each country is very important,” said Park. “For the IT business there are regional distributors and resellers and it is more efficient and manageable to have one team overseeing it.” The Samsung Gulf team has already responded positively to the change with key executives visiting Saudi Arabia to meet with in-country partners. As the vendor moves from an in-country focused channel approach to a regional set-up, modifications to existing routes-to-market seem highly likely. Samsung currently has four main business units in the Middle East: mobiles, consumer electronics, home appliances and IT products. Monitors, printers and components continue to form the mainstay of the Korean giant’s IT sales in the region. Despite Samsung’s strength in the notebook space in other markets around the world there are still no concrete plans to launch this product line in the Middle East. “We are not yet ready to start selling notebooks in the Middle East,” said Park. “There have been some discussions but Samsung is very different to other companies in terms of its cultural philosophy. If we do not believe the customer service infrastructure is there then we do not launch the products.” “For the current IT products, consumer electronics and mobile phones, the service system is in place. For notebooks it is slightly more complicated — we know how important the notebook is to the user — and we want to make sure the service structure is perfect,” he concluded.

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