Toshiba appoints i2 as Iraq and Yemen distributor
Toshiba has confirmed the appointment of i2 as its distribution partner and authorised service provider for the emerging markets of Yemen and Iraq.
Toshiba has confirmed the appointment of i2 as its distribution partner and authorised service provider for the emerging markets of Yemen and Iraq. i2 has already established itself as a major name in mobile phone distribution in the Middle East and the deal with Toshiba marks its first major move in the regional notebook channel.
“We have signed an agreement with i2, which is part of Saudi Arabia-founded Itsalat International,” confirmed Ahmed Khalil, general manager Middle East and Africa at Toshiba. “i2 is one of the largest Nokia distributors in the region and they are actively expanding their retail operation.”
“I see many benefits derived from i2’s background as a mobile phone distributor,” Khalil continued. “It means that i2 has strong logistics capabilities and they understand how to manage products with short lifecycles. i2 understands the importance of value differentiation through after-sales service and support. The fact that i2 already has fully-fledged operations in both Iraq and Yemen is also a significant advantage.”
Toshiba has also provided insight into its first quarter sales performance in the Middle East notebook market. During the first quarter of 2006, Acer took top spot in terms of Middle East notebook shipments with Toshiba picking up second spot and HP taking third position.
Toshiba more than doubled its unit sales year-on-year in the region during the first quarter of 2006, according to the results from IDC. “Toshiba is confirming its strong hold on the market and a solid position within the top three vendors in the Middle East,” commented Khalil.
“In addition, Toshiba’s current quarterly growth trend of over 100% over 2005 will be maintained for the whole of 2006. It will all be down to the quality of the products and the reliability of the distribution network and we are confident that Toshiba can make the crucial difference there,” he continued
In Saudi Arabia, Toshiba notebook shipments almost tripled year-on-year compared to the first quarter of 2005. Samer Sayed, sales and marketing manager at Toshiba Saudi Arabia, said: “Saudi Arabia is a strong focus market for Toshiba. The country is looking at innovation across all fields and Toshiba is a perfect partner in the technology and mobility space.”
Sayed predicts continued strong growth for notebook PCs in the Kingdom. “The government is a key driver of this trend with its growing investment in telcos, education and infrastructure,” he continued. “We expect the growth to continue throughout 2006 and the years to come and Toshiba will be there to be one of the main partners in innovation and mobility.”
Looking ahead, Khalil is determined to invigorate Toshiba sales in geographic and end-user segments where he sees room for further improvement. In Saudi Arabia, Toshiba plans to work closely with in-country distribution partner ABM to expand channel breadth and target emerging retailers as well as resellers and VARs selling into the SMB sector. In both Egypt and the UAE, Toshiba will also look to bolster its retail reach.
Africa also features highly on Toshiba’s regional agenda. Toshiba distributor Al Futtaim’s recent expansion into Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has created a viable route-to-market in these countries while the vendor is also working closely with partner Interdist to develop other national markets in Africa.