Dell plots Philippine channel expansion

Hardware maker unveils aggressive plan to target SMBs in Asia's emerging markets and add 20 to 30 channel partners, say company executives.

PHILIPPINES--Hardware company Dell Computer has disclosed an aggressive expansion plan in the country, following an announcement that it will target Asia's emerging markets for its new mobile and desktop products.

During a Web cast with its Beijing office Wednesday, Steve Felice, president of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan, told reporters here that the company's top priorities include focusing on its range of new products and on the region's sizeable SMB (small and midsize business) market.

"Providing cost-effective products and services for SMBs in Asia's emerging markets is one of the top goals of Dell," Felice said, adding that the hardware maker will also target government and academic sectors in these countries.

He noted that this is the first time Dell, known for its "made-to-order" business model, is releasing pre-configured products that target specific niche segments.

Locally via channels
Dell's Philippines chief Barry Bunyi, said the company will sign an additional 20 to 30 channels partners in the "next 6 months".

Dell Philippines currently has only a handful of channels offering sales and technical support for local customers.

As the company is now "concentrating on SMBs", Bunyi said Dell will have to rope in more channels partners, which will also provide after-sales service to its target markets.

"Although Dell has been using channels for its local operations, this is the first time that we will be expanding our channels partnership specifically for SMBs," the executive said.

The new products under Dell's Vostro line include the 15.1-inch A860 and the 14.1-inch A840. Powered by Intel's Centrino chip, the laptops are available on the Ubuntu or Windows platform.

The Dell Vostro A100 desktop, powered by the AMD Atom processor, was also announced but will only be rolled out in select countries. According to Bunyi, the A100 will not be released in the Philippines.

He added that pricing for A860 will range from 30,000 pesos (US$697.6) to 38,000 pesos (US$828.4), while the smaller A840 will be priced from 36,000 pesos (US$784.8) to 40,000 pesos (US$872).

The Philippines is part of some 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, that Dell will be targeting to launch its newest products, the company said.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.