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Wed 26 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Saudis prefer laptops

A combination of high disposable income and a desire to keep up with the latest technology trends means mobile computing is taking off within Saudi Arabia.

A combination of high disposable income and a desire to keep up with the latest technology trends means mobile computing is taking off within Saudi Arabia. As a result, notebooks sales have hit all time highs in recent quarters, with IDC reporting that the Kingdom’s laptop market expanded by 57.2% during Q303.

As this mammoth growth seems unlikely to stop any time soon, nearly every laptop vendor in the world is itching to get a slice of the action. Foremost among these companies is Acer. Recently crowned the number one notebook vendor in Saudi, the hardware giant has stepped up its efforts in the Kingdom and is looking to build on the 26.3% market share IDC currently credits it with.

“On both the consumer side and business side there is a growing shift towards notebooks as it means people can work when they want. As tele-working takes hold in Saudi [notebook] adoption will only grow, and also as the government wants to encourage females into the workforce,” says Krishna Murthy, general manager, Acer Computer Middle East.

“We are very keen to tap into this growth and provide the Saudi market with the products it requires,” he adds.

Other vendors are equally keen to take advantage of the Saudi market’s apparent love of laptops. Toshiba, for example, is ramping up its focus through its Saudi partner Arabian Business Machines (ABM). Together, the duo are pushing both Toshiba’s notebooks and Tablet PCs and targeting the Kingdom’s younger generation in particular.

“We see sales of mobile increasing year on year. This is being driven by a desire for mobility from users who want to be able to work and communicate wherever they are. The infrastructure allows people to do this now and young Saudis are up with technology and are buying it and using it. The sales of notebooks are shooting up to around 35% and this is in all sectors,” says Dr Omar Al-Jarrah, ABM’s regional manager for the central region of Saudi Arabia.

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