Sitting pretty

Notebooks are the largest sector of the PC market, but some believe that market dynamics make it a precarious ledge on which to perch

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By  Administrator Published  November 4, 2008

Although statistics show that the notebook sector is now the largest category of the PC space by some distance, there are still those that believe the dynamics of the market make it a rather precarious ledge on which to perch. Channel Middle East brings together the region’s leading PC vendors to find out what they are doing to help their channel partners increase profitability and minimise the inevitable margin pressure associated with the sector.

We spoke to: Santosh Varghese (SV), regional general manager at Toshiba Computer Systems; Djillali Lahiani (DL), Middle East regional channel partner manager at Lenovo; George Su (GS), account manager for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Asus; John Coulston (JC), head of marketing at Dell Middle East; Anil Kumar (AK), general manager for the Personal Systems Group at HP Middle East; Mark Prosser (MP), product marketing manager for mobility products at Acer Middle East; and Yves Matta (YM), volume sales director for the UAE at Fujiitsu Siemens.

Price points in the mobile PC market continue to decrease even though the overall size of the sector is growing. What are you doing to ensure this pressure doesn't impact your partners' profitability?

SV: The market in the Middle East region is growing at an average rate of about 60% and with ASPs falling by about 15% to 20% it is very difficult for the partner to maintain revenue growth.

That is the biggest challenge across the channel. What we are asking the channel to do is have a proper mix of products and to retain a focus on the entry and mid-range levels, as well as a vertical segment like gaming PCs. The channel must add value and encourage a culture of up-selling.

They must ask the customer what purpose and applications they are using it for in case they would be able to recommend a high-spec laptop with a better graphics card or more power, or even add on peripherals or options such as an extra hard disk or warranty.

JC: We work with our suppliers to make sure that we have the most cost-effective products possible. We have a continued focus on cost without impacting the quality of any components or the delivery of the total product in the final package.

We constantly scour the market for the right technology and have one of the most effective procurement organisations in the industry. That helps us pass those benefits onto our partners.

YM: It's true, ASPs are decreasing year-on-year, but don't forget that units shipments are increasing as well.

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