Going for gold at GITEX

As gold sponsor of GITEX Shopper & Consumer Electronics Expo, industry giant HP has diversified its involvement at this year’s GITEX Technology Week. HP Middle East managing director John Hoonhout discusses the company’s participation at this year’s show and its expansion plans for the region.

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By  Administrator Published  October 18, 2008

As gold sponsor of GITEX Shopper & Consumer Electronics Expo, industry giant HP has diversified its involvement at this year’s GITEX Technology Week. HP Middle East managing director John Hoonhout discusses the company’s participation at this year’s show and its expansion plans for the region.

HP has traditionally been one of the leading lights of GITEX Technology Week. How has the event developed over the years in terms of its importance to your business?

We believe we can offer our customers highly differentiated, functional, well-designed and eco-conscious solutions. It’s essential to highlight these facts face-to-face with our clients. GITEX Technology Week is the annual opportunity for HP to meet with its customers from all business segments. It also enables us to meet with key alliance and channel partners to consolidate and strengthen the relationship that is vital in the industry. GITEX Shopper will allow us to showcase our differentiation directly to our customers giving them access to the latest and most innovative products and solutions.

Which regional territories do you consider your most important markets?

Each market in the region plays an important role in our strategy and each territory is treated individually according to local needs. Over the past two years we have expanded our activities in various countries including the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

What plans does the company have for further expansion in the Middle East?

We will continue to look for growth opportunities and will invest in developing the market and our partner base across the region, driven by client demand and the market’s potential. HP is committed to delivering industry leading products and services for consumer, SMB and enterprises.

What are the key technology trends impacting the Middle East IT market at present?

HP’s customers, both consumer and commercial, have to manage an increasing amount of data and complexity every day (more data will be created in the next three years worldwide than in the history of the mankind). We want to help our customers overcome these challenges simply and efficiently.

Consumers and enterprises alike in the Middle East are also looking for smaller and faster technologies that incorporate interoperability, convergence and expanded mobility capabilities. Consumers are embracing the mobile lifestyle, personally and professionally, therefore their requirements are evolving and so is HP’s products and solutions portfolio.

On the enterprise side, reducing cost and improving the business outcome while mitigating risk and improving efficiency is the central challenge facing every CIO. We will continue to help enterprise customers in speeding business innovation by helping them gain a competitive advantage through transforming their data centre into a business-driven, process-smart and future-ready asset.

The four central themes in this respect are consolidation, energy and space efficiency, data centre automation, and business continuity and availability.

Enterprise business has traditionally accounted for the bulk of HP’s revenues in the Middle East. With the growth of your PSG division, have consumer sales become more important strategically?

Consumer sales already account for about one third of our annual revenue. In saying that, all of HP’s business activities contribute to the consumer experience in some way; either with PC or printers or helping enterprise clients develop their own consumer retail capabilities.

All HP business units are of the same importance to us and we work to develop each of them to fulfil market demands. HP has just completed one of the largest acquisitions in the IT industry by acquiring EDS.

This is an example of HP's commitment to the enterprise segment and to the services sector.

Speaking of EDS, HP recently confirmed it planned to shed around 9,000 EMEA-based employees following its takeover of the company. How will these job cuts impact your Middle East operations?

Although we expect the impact on HP Middle East workforce to be minimal, it is our policy not to reveal specific country workforce numbers.

What strategic value does the EDS takeover offer your business?

The acquisition of EDS is the largest in the IT services sector and the second largest in the technology industry, following our acquisition of Compaq, which closed in 2002.

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