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Lenovo looking to UAE for consumer product debut

Lenovo may launch its first EMEA consumer products in the UAE once pilots projects are completed says VP

Lenovo executives have said that they are considering the UAE as one of the first markets for their upcoming consumer product launches, once pilot projects are completed.

The company is currently trialing its first consumer products for the EMEA market in France and South Africa, but it is considering key growth markets in the Middle East for a possible launch once the trials are completed.

Milko van Duijl, president EMEA and senior VP told press in a conference call on Tuesday that Lenovo is "putting a lot of focus, energy, management time" into the Middle East and Turkey, and that the UAE was one of the markets being considered for a consumer launch "once we have signed off the pilots".

The Gulf markets are an important focus for Lenovo, van Duijl said, and the company has invested in people to allow the company to capitalize on growth in the region, although he would not give details of any specific growth plans.

For the EMEA region, Lenovo has succeeded in meeting four priorities for growth in FY07-08 - rolling out a transactional model, improving supply chain, and returning to desktop profitability - signing nearly 9,000 new partners, hitting an annual shipment record of 3.4m units, recording six successive quarters of growth and reaching sales of $3.6bn. van Duijl says that the company still has work to do to build its brand, although sponsorship of the Formula One AT&T Williams racing team and this year's Beijing Olympics were so far proving to be very successful.

"The Lenovo brand name remains relatively unknown - we acknowledge that we have a long way to go in terms of recognition and awareness. At the same time, we don't have the same budget [as companies like coca cola] so we need to be creative, and I think we have been - Formula One has given us enormous visibility" he said.

Also during the conference call van Duijl said that Lenovo does not have any plans to enter the netbook segment at present.

"I have seen the interest in small, low cost PCs, we are observing that, but we have no plans as of yet. I think it is very interesting to look at the price point and the [number of] products - I have no intention to lose money in that business," he added.

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