e-retail enters Middle East distribution circuit

Newly created retail distribution entity e-retail — formed as a joint venture company by wholesalers Empa and Memory Technology Corporation (MTC) — has officially started trading in the Middle East market. As revealed exclusively by Channel Middle East last month, the business will initially target retail accounts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 8, 2007

Newly created retail distribution entity e-retail — formed as a joint venture company by wholesalers Empa and Memory Technology Corporation (MTC) — has officially started trading in the Middle East market. As revealed exclusively by Channel Middle East last month, the business will initially target retail accounts in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Empa and MTC have marked the birth of their new venture by confirming that it has been appointed as the exclusive distributor for LCD TV vendor HANNspree in the Middle East and North Africa region. The deal does not include Saudi Arabia, however. Samer el Borhan, general manager at e-retail, said: “The launch of e-retail will mark the beginning of a new chapter in consumer electronics retailing in the region. We will be retailing some of the premier IT and electronic brands, including products of HANNspree which have captivated the imagination of customers the world over with their unconventional design and styling.” He added: “Customers in the region cannot only expect high quality and innovative products at e-retail, they will also experience the highest levels of customer service.” The establishment of e-retail comes after Empa recently revealed ambitions to increase the amount of business it does with retail outlets. The company believes that customers in the retail sector require dedicated services and product lines to account for the unique nature of their business. “This symbiotic partnership with MTC to form our retail arm is part of our strategy to strengthen our operations in the region by leveraging the benefits of collective expertise and resources,” explained Rahb Hamidaddin, president at Empa Middle East. “e-retail will offer a wide range of consumer electronics and IT products for customers, including brands such as HANNspree which present a totally new and refreshing concept in product design.” Speaking to Channel Middle East last month, Hamidaddin confirmed that e-retail would initially be staffed by a team of eleven people. Six of those are set to focus on the UAE channel with the remainder taking charge of Saudi. While e-retail will enjoy the support of Empa and MTC, the company is understood to have its own separate stocking centre and service centre in Jebel Ali. Houssam Mobied, CEO at MTC, said: “We are glad to team up with Empa to launch our retail arm which will help us further consolidate our position in the highly competitive and lucrative markets of the MENA region. Over the years we have established a strong relationship with our customers with our service efficiency and value addition, and the launch of e-retail will enable us to reach out to our target audience with greater impact.” MTC boasts a number of big name distribution relationships, with vendors such as Fujitsu Siemens, Samsung, Micron and Xtreme all using the distributor as a route to market in certain Middle East countries. The company has a 50,000 square foot facility in Jebel Ali, which also houses an assembly line for GENX branded desktop PCs and notebooks. UAE-based Empa, meanwhile, is an authorised distributor of manufacturers including Asus, Kingston, Philips and Toshiba.

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