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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Canon takes aim at KSA and Moroccan markets

Vendor prepares to broaden presence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Digital imaging and printer powerhouse Canon is escalating its presence in the Middle East by opening in-country offices in Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Canon's Moroccan office has recently been finalised and the vendor is in the process of "finding a location and finalising legal work" for its office in Saudi Arabia, which it expects to open later this year.

"We are very selectively choosing the markets in which to have in-country presence," said Mohamed Salama, marketing manager MEA at Canon. "They are the markets where we are seeing the biggest growth. We know that the Saudi government is going towards the direction of economic liberalisation and we know that in the coming three years, a large proportion of the government's budget is targeted towards the education sector and banking sector. This means there will be a very strong requirement and potential for companies like Canon, and that's why we want to have presence."

The vendor also plans to heighten its partners' skills by running roadshows and seminars across the region.

"We're going to hold a full, year-long programme in Saudi with our distributors," he revealed. "The programme will be focused on training their staff and upgrading their skills in terms of IT knowledge and information. We'll also be addressing services and infrastructure."

Canon claims its customers continually identify people skills as being the most prominent challenge amongst businesses in the region, and claims the programme is a significant step in overcoming this barrier.

"You look at all the professional clients and their biggest dissatisfaction is with the lack of IT consultancy and professional services," claimed Salama. "So we're going to have our best calibres in the representative offices and they're going to collaborate very closely with our partners."

Canon reckons its Middle East arm has seen a 25% revenue growth, on average, over the past seven years.

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