Taking stock of Yemen

As Yemen's IT market evolves, calls are growing for vendors to develop a reliable channel structure.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  September 21, 2008

It is unlikely that the vendors would admit it, but it could also be said that the location of Yemen in relation to Saudi and the regional hub of the UAE provides the perfect excuse to operate remotely.

Although the HPs, Toshibas and Suns have business interests in the country, it is largely removed and through the channel.

It is very unlikely in the near future that the Yemen IT market will be able to assert itself enough to capture the full attention of the region's CEOs and regional managers.

Hashemi of Golden Systems is wary of Yemen being palmed-off to sales managers. "Vendors are just assigning sales people to cater to the market rather than putting a little bit more focus in terms of marketing and education for the channel," he said.

"I have even sent my sales people to the local markets in Yemen and the presence from the vendors and the distributors in this region is very limited. They just delegate all of their marketing and development work to their customers or sub-disties."

It is, however, clear that the channel feels that Yemen would benefit from greater attention from IT manufacturers and are vociferous about what the vendors must do.

"Vendors need to devote more attention to channel education and provide product training that will help channels in Yemen to promote their products and market in a way that is not focused on price factors, but on the added value," proclaimed Trinity's Mohamed.

Hashemi at GSE feels that the next step may well be for vendors to develop some form of in-country presence in the future. "There are no vendors with an in-country presence at the moment that I know of, but that will be something that will definitely happen in the future," predicted Hashemi.

"It has to go through the regular course every emerging market goes through until it proves to the vendors that there is a large market there."

It looks unlikely that vendors will move in over the next few years, but there is certainly an increase in efforts that can be seen, be it through the channel or by visiting partners in Yemen. Smartnet would like to see a greater focus from vendors in creating customer awareness by supporting the channel and conducting regular events.

"Vendors should allocate some marketing funds to support this market," proclaimed Shamsan. "Also, they should respect their local channels and not approach the customer directly."

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