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Toshiba and Al Futtaim crack the UAE market for mobile computing

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, July 23 - 2003 @ 09:35

Toshiba now has a 25 per cent market share and has recorded year-on-year growth of 118 per cent during 2002 and 1st half of 2003.

Its product range comprises innovatively-designed notebook computers featuring cutting-edge technology, superior entertainment capabilities, on-board communications, and an extensive range of software.

Exclusive focus on wireless-enabled systems that give customers ‘anywhere, anytime’ computing mobility has given it a distinct marketing edge and sent sales soaring.

Mobile computing growth in the UAE is running at 30 per cent year-on-year, whereas desktop computer sales are virtually static.

And as Toshiba’s distributor in the UAE, Al Futtaim Electronics has taken a major role in achieving this phenomenal success.

Al Futtaim Electronics was instrumental in Toshiba adopting a three-year international warranty policy for its mobile computers sold in the Middle East, the only brand to carry such a guarantee.

The distributor began offering a three-year local warranty on Toshiba laptops in 1997, when the manufacturer’s own warranty was for 12 months.

The benefit became such a big sales generator in the UAE that Toshiba’s European computer systems division in Germany – which is responsible for the Middle East and Africa markets – adopted the policy in 2001 for its entire Middle East operations.

“We saw how well the policy worked as a marketing tool for Al Futtaim and realised that the same benefits would follow if we introduced it across the Middle East region,” said Ahmed Khalil, Middle East regional manager of Toshiba computers.

For Al Futtaim, the extended warranty capitalised on the very low failure rate experienced with Toshiba models sold by the distributor.

“We have been handling Toshiba products since 1968 and computers since 1989.In the last eight years we have been monitoring, fewer than one percent ever come back for repair, far less than the industry average,” said R. Muralidharan, general manager of Al Futtaim Electronics (Toshiba).

“Clearly, this was a big marketing plus-point which deserved more emphasis. We were quite confident that we could offer a three-year warranty because our experience had proved that this was justified.

“No other manufacturer is prepared to give a three-year international warranty on the consumer range which underlines the quality and workmanship that is built into Toshiba’s mobile products.”

“Because Toshiba mobile computers are made in Germany, the lifecycle of products introduced in the UAE and the Middle East is parallel with the European market,” said Muralidharan. “This is another significant market plus as we always have access to the most innovative products.

“With other manufacturers, there is often a lengthy lead-time before new product lines are available here.”

The preference for wireless enabled-systems has also stimulated demand for wireless-enabled networks in the UAE where Toshiba’s SG20 and Z310 servers are the number one choice.

“Toshiba made the world’s first notebook computer back in 1985 and we have led this field ever since,” said Khalil. “Our long-standing partnership with Al Futtaim Electronics has been a decisive influence on our penetration of the UAE market and with our continued combination of quality product and quality sales, service and after-care I am confident that we will be able to maintain and consolidate our market leadership.”

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Wednesday, July 23- 2003 @ 9:35 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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