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Sapphire shines brighter

VGA manufacturer Sapphire aims to sparkle in two of the region’s largest markets, Egypt and Iran, with new distributor appointments. North Africa Company now carries exclusive rights for the Egyptian market; DigitalMe will carry Sapphire’s low-end products for Iran in a move that is bound to upset VGA rival GeCube.

VGA manufacturer Sapphire aims to sparkle in two of the region’s largest markets, Egypt and Iran, with new distributor appointments. North Africa Company (NAC) now carries exclusive rights for the Egyptian market; DigitalMe will carry Sapphire’s low-end products for Iran in a move that is bound to upset VGA rival GeCube.

“A six-month exclusive agreement is in place with NAC effective from the first of January 2005. They will carry the complete range of Sapphire products and we will review the arrangement after the six months are up,” explained Mohammad Ibrahim, Sapphire’s Middle East manager.

“Regarding DigitalMe, we were negotiating with them but we already have another distributor in Iran, Albaloo. The step has been taken to segment the market — Albaloo for the high-end, and DigitalMe for the low-end. DigitalMe will carry the whole range of products, but will have exclusive distribution for low-end kit. By the end of 2005 I intend to be number one in the VGA market, and partnering with DigitalMe is the first step in controlling Iran’s market,” added Ibrahim.

The other appointment, with Iranian outfit DigitalMe, is not without controversy. DigitalMe ‘s sister company is Comtronix, a Dubai-based distributor which carries GeCube, another ATi manufacturer and rival to Sapphire. When asked if Sapphire’s tie-up with DigitalMe will cannibalise sales for GeCube, Ibrahim replied with a grin and said, “ask them.”

When approached for comment GeCube’s response was less vague. “I think we may have another arrangement with Comtronix now Sapphire is working with our customer,” explained Patrick Lin, GeCube Middle East manager.

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