By Andy Tillett
Dubai’s WiFi Zone boss talks through the untapped channel potential for selling AMD-based PC systems
|~|rakeshinsideinfo200.gif|~|Rakesh Bohra, general manger at the Wi-Fi computer Zone |~|Rakesh Bohra, general manager of both Wi-Fi Electronics and Faris International Computers speaks out for resellers on why they have high hopes for the tie-up between distributor Almasa and chip giant AMD.
CME:What do you think of AMD’s recent attention to the region?
Rakesh Bohra: I’ve been here for three-and-a-half years and have never previously seen anything from AMD in terms of channel conferences or meetings with resellers. They’ve had a distributor here but haven’t had any real presence themselves. They’ve never invested enough in advertising and devoted budget to change the market. If they come here now, and are devoted, they have to answer to the market every day. They can’t sit back if they are going to spend the kind of money it takes to set up in the region and achieve sales.
CME:Where do you think AMD needs to invest more money?
RB: Up until now I haven’t seen any money coming in to promote AMD to the end user. Promotion to dealers, talking and meeting, is fine, but it will not help because the people who come to the meetings are the owners — decision makers from companies. The guy who’s standing there in front of the customer is the one who decides what to sell. Neither the customer who is coming in is asking for AMD, nor has the salesman been equipped to sell it.
CME:Why do you think things will change with AMD now?
RB: Before, there was an executive coming in from overseas to Dubai, who would be here for three days a month and then go back. It was just him meeting with the distributor and the top 20 channel guys. There was no commitment to the market. By building more presence here AMD is committing itself to the whole market, it will have to be visible here everyday. To run the setup AMD will have to spend money; to spend that money it has to recover it from the market; to recover it from the market it has to sell; to sell, AMD has to promote to the end user. It’s a cycle.
CME:There was a great turnout at the AMD Almasa tie up, what’s been the buzz on the street since?
RB: Most of the resellers have not been aware of AMD’s business, at the announcement they asked who was aware of the advantages that AMD has over its rivals? Most of the people didn’t even know what the difference between a dual core chip from Intel and a dual core chip from AMD was. Intel chips are based on 32bit architecture split into two; AMD chips are based on 64bit architecture spilt into four.
CME:If their products aren’t as good, whats is Intel’s advantage?
RB: Intel is an extremely good marketing company. If you look at the way that Intel talks to the people, they tell the customer that they are in their life from when they wake up to when they go back to bed. AMD does nothing like this, the guys on the street aren’t aware of it. They just know that there are now three distributors and two of them are known to them: Sky and Almasa. So the benefits for the channel are that they will be able to get slightly more competitive prices, faster response and a little leverage by playing them off against each other. The rest will take time, because the whole market has to talk AMD before it takes off.
CME:Do you think AMD has the potential to gain serious market share in this region?
RB: It completely depends on the strategies that it uses in the marketplace. If they are smart and invest in the end user then yes, I do think they can grow.
CME:Do you support AMD?
RB: We are supporting AMD, and we will continue to support them, but it’s not our individual efforts that will help; it’s not my companies, they are just two small resellers, and it’s not just me being convinced, but my team being convinced. Today, my team is actually convinced that an AMD PC is a better machine than Intel. When a customer walks into my shop with the thought of buying a PC he’s only thinking of Intel. My guys will do their best to convince this guy that if he wants to get a good machine he will go with AMD. I have virtually stopped buying Intel processors as I cannot make money on them.
CME:How much more money do you make on an AMD PC?
RB: If I can make US$14 on an Intel machine, on a same spec machine with AMD, I’d make more than US$68. At present this margin is high because there is less competition in the AMD market, and as the market grows larger the margins will come down, but I believe that we will always make more with AMD.||**||