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Dell Centers to Extend Reach
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The world's second-biggest PC maker Dell Inc said yesterday it plans to open more customer experience centers in China to tap the country's emerging consumer market.


"We plan to open at least two to three customer experience centers in the following quarters," said Alex Yung, general manager of Home and Small Business at Dell Asia-Pacific.


Yung refused to disclose where the centers would be located.


The centers would show Dell products, but customers would not be able to purchase computers or notebooks from them directly, said Yung. But he did not rule out the possibility of the centers becoming retail outlets in the future.


"Currently, 80 percent of our revenue comes from phone call orders, and more than 10 percent from online orders," Yung said. "We plan to introduce our products to more low-end consumers in China through customer experience centers and attract them to purchase our products via our traditional sales channels."


From 2000 to the first half of 2005, Dell has seen robust business growth in China due to its sales in the corporate and high-end consumer market in China's big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.


But as Dell's growth from these two markets slows, the company is searching for new engines to maintain its momentum. China's huge low-end consumer market is one of its top targets.


Dell said yesterday that seven out of 100 people in China own PCs, compared with two in 100 for India. About 25 million PCs were sold in China last year, four times the 6 million in India.


"The next big opportunity for PC makers are emerging markets like India and China, where most of the population still do not have PCs," said Simon Ye, an analyst at research firm Gartner.


"But I think Dell's problem is whether its successful direct sales business model can fit this new market where consumers are highly scattered and Internet access and phone services are not always available," he said.


In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year ended February 2, Dell's revenue reached $14.4 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent on the previous quarter, and a decline of 5.1 percent on 2005. Its revenue in China rose 26 percent in the quarter.


(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2007)


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