Samsung yet to decide on notebook distributors

Admits it could be at least three more weeks before it decides which distributors will carry its notebook portfolio in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  October 16, 2008

Samsung admits it could be at least three more weeks before it decides which distributors will be awarded the rights to carry its notebook portfolio in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The company announced plans to finally introduce its mobile PC lines in the region earlier this week and is now attempting to sort out its channel strategy in time for a December launch.

Madhav Narayan, general manager and head of sales and marketing for Samsung Gulf’s IT division, said the issue of how many authorised notebook distributors would be appointed was currently up for debate.

“At this point in time we have not firmed up how many partners we are going to work with,” he said. “A lot will depend on what we want to do, where are we going to focus and the products that we are going to offer. We are waiting for a fair bit of inflow from headquarters, and we are also trying to take their feedback on how they have approached other countries and whether we can adopt anything that has been successful.”

Given that Samsung’s IT subsidiary is responsible for printers, monitors, memory and hard drives, the vendor works with a number of distributors in the Gulf including Almasa, Trigon, Redington, Metra and Active. All have expressed an interest in distributing notebooks, according to Narayan.

“We are currently talking to existing partners so relationships should be cemented within the next couple of weeks,” he explained. “It is a two-way process — we are talking about the product line and they are trying to check on what the offering is — so we will probably be ready with the partner mapping by the end of October or just after. Existing partners are definitely being talked to and we are looking at other options as well, but we have not finalised anything to so far.”

Figures disclosed by Samsung place the anticipated value of the Middle East notebook market in excess of 2.9 million units this year — around 900,000 units more than 2007. The UAE and Saudi Arabia account for two thirds of notebook PC consumption between them.

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