Dell Asia not affected by job cuts

Up to 3,900 Dell Computer employees in Asia Pacific have been spared from job cuts following the PC maker's plan to reduce workers worldwide.

SINGAPORE--Up to 3,900 Dell Computer employees in Asia Pacific have been spared from job cuts following the PC maker's plan to reduce workers worldwide.

Earlier, it was reported that Dell would eliminate 3,000 to 4,000 positions during the next two quarters as the company retrenches amid tough times.

Dell said the layoffs, which will mainly affect employees in Texas, were widely anticipated as computer makers have seen slower sales in recent months.

A Singapore-based spokesperson yesterday confirmed that Asia Pacific was unaffected by the layoffs. Dell employs a total of 3,900 workers across the region (including Japan), with two production facilities in Penang, Malaysia, and one in Xiamen, China.

Last week, a top Dell Computer executive said the company would be "ruthless" about cutting costs, but declined to comment on speculation about more layoffs.

Speaking at a Merrill Lynch technology conference Thursday, Tom Meredith, senior vice president of business development and strategy, said Dell planned to cut costs further because that was the company's best advantage against its rivals.

"We will be ruthless about how we adjust our cost structure going forward," he said.

Asked whether that statement meant that more layoffs were on deck, Meredith said the company "won't comment on rumors". Although he didn't rule out additional layoffs, he added that Dell would look at "areas that haven't been attacked".

In February, Dell eliminated about 1,700 jobs in the US. At the time, the company said it did not anticipate further layoffs.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, its CEO Michael Dell said the company had every intention of growing its business in Asia as the region is the fastest growing marketplace for the PC industry.

Dell was in the Malaysian capital to launch Malaysia Direct, a pilot scheme to ship notebooks manufactured in Penang to the US within five days.

"Our business in Asia has continued to enjoy tremendous growth. Malaysia Direct, if successful, will yield a tremendous increase in the activity for our local operations," he said. The company also plans to improve its position in Asia where it is currently the No. 6 PC maker.

Nasdaq-listed Dell last traded at US$25.91, up US$0.07.

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