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Toshiba laps up Middle East notebook glory

Notebook vendor Toshiba has vaulted to the top of the Middle East mobile PC market after growing shipments by more than 84% year-on-year during the third quarter. The Japan-based vendor shipped 88,400 units during the three months to the end of September — up from 48,000 in the corresponding period last year — according to latest data from IDC.

Notebook vendor Toshiba has vaulted to the top of the Middle East mobile PC market after growing shipments by more than 84% during the third quarter. The Japan-based vendor shipped 88,400 units during the three months to the end of September — up from 48,000 in the corresponding period last year — according to latest data from IDC.

The scale of Toshiba’s progress is emphasised by the fact that it now commands 24% of the regional laptop market compared with 17% a year ago. Former market leader Acer now holds 21.5% while HP sits closely behind with 20%.

Toshiba claims its rise to the number one spot follows particularly strong growth in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman where the company enjoys high brand visibility. It also had a solid quarter in the UAE where shipments almost doubled to 35,000 units.

Ahmed Khalil, general manager at Toshiba Middle East, said: “2006 has by no means been an easy year for sales around the region, but I am proud to say that the efforts of my team coupled with a healthy mix of consumer and professional products have allowed us to ride the wave and come out on top of the game.”

Khalil insists that recent additions to Toshiba’s management team across the region puts the company in a good position to continue its momentum and strengthen its links with local partners. At the end of October, Toshiba promoted Santosh Varghese to assistant general manager, while Moataz Reda was lured across from HP a month earlier to run the company’s Saudi operation. Elia Mansour — a Toshiba product manager at Lebanese distributor PC Dealnet — was also brought on board to run affairs in Egypt and Lebanon.

“We are confident that our new strategy of appointing country managers on the ground, as has been the case in Saudi Arabia and the Levant, will allow us to maintain the lead in the region by enhancing customer intimacy and getting us closer to our channel and reseller network, said Khalil.”

Toshiba wasn’t the only vendor to experience healthy notebook growth in the Middle East during the third quarter. HP grew shipments 29% to 76,000 units while Acer’s sales swelled 21% to 79,000 units. Dell also extended its share of the market to 12% after selling more than 44,000 units.

The strong performances of those three — as well as Toshiba's efforts — had a detrimental effect on Fujitsu Siemens’ and Lenovo’s business, however. FSC saw notebook shipments slide 9% year-on-year to 9,000 pieces, while Lenovo suffered a similar drop to its Germany-based counterpart. The overall Middle East mobile PC market increased 31% year-on-year to 366,000 during the third quarter.

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