Dell names new Middle East distributor

Hardware vendor aims to extend reach to SMB segment through new agreement.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  August 7, 2007

Dell has turned up the heat in the region's PC and storage systems space by signing a dedicated distribution partner to push its commercial products in several Middle East markets.

The appointment of Asbis - better known for its strength in components wholesale - is a sign of the vendor's intent to gain stronger coverage in the corporate sector, particularly among small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Asbis is authorised to distribute a wide range of products from Dell's commercial portfolio, including OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks, and server and storage hardware. It is also permitted to carry Dell's new Vostro line-up, which is considered a key weapon in the vendor's SMB strategy.

The agreement, which covers Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Yemen, crowns Asbis as Dell's first dedicated commercial distributor for those markets. Until now, Dell has primarily worked through first-tier value added resellers, such as Emirates Computers and Key Information Technology in the UAE. The company also lists ZBM, Mohsin Haider Darwish and OCS in Oman, and MECOS and Hilal Computers in Bahrain, as authorised service partners, while Computer Arabia retains that status in Qatar.

Michael Collins, general manager at Dell Middle East, says the appointment of Asbis is a further step to "reinforcing" the vendor's focus on the region's SMB landscape. "Through this association, Dell Middle East will utilise Asbis Middle East's extensive reseller network to enhance its reach to the SMB segment across the specified markets. This alliance is in accordance with the recent launch of our new product Vostro, which is specifically designed for the SMB market," he said.

Asbis is understood to have received its first consignment of notebooks earlier this week and expects to take further deliveries of product in the run-up to next month's GITEX exhibition. The deal marks a major step in its quest to add more finished goods to its components-focused portfolio and the firm continues to explore opportunities with other hardware and software brands that it believes would sit well with its offering.

"Every year when we compare ourselves with other distributors in the region we find that we are very powerful on components, but we are still not addressing the finished product part," said Hesham Tantawi, vice president Middle East and Africa at Asbis. "So our decision has been to look towards finished products in order to increase our presence in this market. Last year we started with Toshiba notebooks for Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Now what we are going to bring to the Dell distribution channel is real coverage in the SMB segment."

Tantawi acknowledges that there are marked differences between components and finished goods distribution, but insists the company has the systems in place to handle contracts from systems vendors such as Dell. "We have employed some new staff who are going to take care of this, and as a group Asbis has experience in this segment as well because we are working on it in a lot of other countries. Our system and back office is equipped and adapted to handle these kind of products," he added.

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