Ex-WD boss to help HGST crack the Middle East

New HK Consulting venture aims to give companies easy entrance into Middle East market

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  August 10, 2008

Western Digital's former regional director Hafeez Khawaja has launched his own channel consultancy - and unveiled Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) as its first client.

Khawaja, who has spent the past five months setting up HK Consulting following his departure from WD, will now effectively go head-to-head with his former employers by helping HGST strengthen its business in the region.

Although HGST serves the market through distributors such as Almasa, Asbis and Trinity, it doesn't have the local presence of other storage vendors in the Middle East. Its tie-up with HK Consulting is therefore designed to strengthen the regional perception of its brand.

"We have closed a contract with Hitachi Global Storage and we will be consulting and carrying out all the sales, marketing, demand generation and communication activities," confirmed Khawaja. "HGST is well known as one of the leaders in storage technology with world renowned R&D heritage."

HK Consulting is positioning itself as an organisation that can help vendors expand in the Middle East and Africa markets without making a huge initial investment. It claims to offer expertise in channel development, market analysis and brand enhancement.

Khawaja is managing the organisation with Ken Larsen, who previously held a number of senior roles at Western Digital, including VP emerging markets. He has also recruited five other members of staff handling sales, account management and channel development.

Khawaja says HK Consulting is in negotiations with other companies keen to use its services, though it will not sign clients with products that directly compete with existing customers. He believes the concept will appeal to vendors that want to test the water before allocating significant spend to the region, citing US Robotics' recent decision to close its Middle East office as a reason why companies need to take a more measured approach to addressing the market.

"This is a very viable option for those manufacturers who do not want to invest millions of dollars from day one, but still need professional services," he said. "This gives them a chance to see tangible results before doing that."

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