EMC bets big on Asia's home market

Following its Iomega acquisition, storage vendor establishes dedicated business units to heighten focus on the region's Soho and consumer market segments.

PHILIPPINES--EMC has announced plans to intensify its focus on a potentially huge market for the storage vendor, the small office/ home office (Soho) and consumer market segments, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a briefing Tuesday, Steven Leonard, EMC's chief for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the company will soon complete the establishments of dedicated business units for the Soho and consumer segments across its offices in the region.

"We will integrate products for the Soho and consumer segments in the second quarter of this year," Leonard told reporters. EMC's country offices will still oversee the operations of these dedicated units.

According to Leonard, the move came after EMC acquired Iomega last week for US$213 million.

Known as the maker of once-popular Zip drives, Iomega was an erstwhile leader for consumer storage devices before the emergence of cheaper storage products, such as USB drives.

"Iomega has a strong presence in Europe," Leonard said, adding that one of EMC's immediate goals is to strengthen the brand in the Asia-Pacific region.

He added that the company will expand its operations in the region, but he did not disclose financial details, noting only that areas of expansion will include India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The expansion plans are all in line with EMC's push to the consumer segment, he said.

Leonard explained that one of the key drivers behind the Iomega acquisition is the burgeoning consumer market segment, and the unprecedented growth of data generated by individuals.

Citing industry figures, he said data growth is pegged at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 57 percent, reaching 1,773 billion gigabytes. Of this number, a substantial portion will come from sources outside the corporate sector.

Leonard said EMC's vision for its consumer-focused products is to provide storage devices that will eventually allow home users to connect to an EMC "cloud", to make it easier for companies to manage data generated by individuals.

As such, organizations would still have to be mindful about ensuring data security, privacy, reliability and compliance.

According to market researcher IDC, in 2007, EMC led the market with a 42 percent year-on-year growth for its external storage devices. The storage vendor last year posted revenues of more than US$13 billion and earnings of US$1.7 billion.

The bulk of its revenue came from the United States and Europe, including the Middle East and Africa, with US$2.1 billion and US$1.21 billion, respectively. The Asia-Pacific region followed with US$398 million.

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