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Dell's Local Sales Rise, Despite Sluggish Global Market
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Dell Inc, the world's largest PC maker, posted a 31 percent revenue increase in China in the second quarter of this fiscal year, despite sluggish global sales.

The US firm, which has been coping with a global slowdown, saw worldwide revenue grow 5 percent and operating income decline by 36 percent in the period.

Dell's unit growth in China saw a slight decrease to 37 percent compared to 40 percent growth in the previous quarter. Its revenue in China in the first quarter grew 29 percent.

That indicated Dell China is "growing in a healthy way," Stephen Felice, president of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan, said on Friday.

The president expects the company's plan to launch "Dimension" consumer desktop PCs with microprocessors made by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) next month to "reach out to more customers" and accelerate Dell's business growth in China.

AMD's low-price processors, which are popular in China, could help Dell further cut costs to better compete with other makers in one of the world's most dynamic PC markets.

And the increasing investment in improving customer service will also help drive down costs, said Felice.

This year Dell plans to invest US$150 million globally in customer care, which is designed to improve the buying experience through services and support.

Felice would not disclose how much investment would be made in China.

Doubts have been raised about Dell's customer-focused direct business model in China. Some analysts say inadequate localization in China has resulted in increasing customer complaints.

But Felice insisted that Dell was "getting more and more comfortable with the direct model" in China and has "got high scores in delivering customer experience."

He added that the recent factory expansion in China and increased capacity at call centers in Dalian, in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, would ensure better delivery and customer care.

Dell is currently facing a lawsuit brought by Chinese customers after a mix-up regarding a chip shipped to some of its notebook PCs in China. Some buyers complained that their notebooks did not carry the central processing units as advertised. Dell has promised to offer refunds to those who bought such laptops.

Sharon Zhang, a spokeswoman with Dell China, said that the firm would double the number of workers involved in customer care in China and increase technical service support by 80 percent by the end of this year.

(China Daily August 19, 2006)

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