Shanghai: US computer maker Dell Inc. unveiled a low-cost computer on 21 March that has been specifically designed for the Chinese market and could help large numbers of novices get online.
The Dell EC280, priced at between $335 and $515 (Rs14,498-Rs22,289) is developed by engineers at Dell’s China Design Centre located in Shanghai, the company said.
“Today there are one billion people online worldwide and many of the world’s second billion users are right here in China,” chief executive Michael Dell said. “We intend to earn their confidence and their business.”
Dell announced earlier this month a 33% dive in fourth-quarter profits but it is ranked number three in computer shipments in China and saw a 26% increase in revenues in Asia’s second-largest economy last year.
China’s Internet is a rapidly expanding business, with 137 million Chinese estimated to be online as of the end of last year, state media said.
Dell’s product launch reflected a broader move by computer makers to move from the nation’s saturated cities into relative virgin territory in the huge countryside, analysts said.
“The main market for this computer is in rural areas, where price sensitivity is relatively high,” said Cao Ran, an analyst with CCID Consulting in Beijing.
But whether in the cities or in the countryside, the trend is clearly for cheap computers as there are few other ways for companies to compete, she said.
“Overall, the quality of computers in China is pretty much the same so the main strategy for gaining market share is through pricing,” she said.
Dell, the world’s number-two computer maker behind Hewlett-Packard, has manufacturing plants in China, Malaysia and India. Western computer companies are looking to Asia to offset weaker growth at home.
“This year, our purchase from supplier partnerships in Taiwan and China will be $19 billion,” Dell said.
“Dell’s activities in China directly and indirectly supported 1.5 million jobs to contribute more than $36 billion to annual GDP.”
In an indication of the importance of the China market to Dell, the company this week also opened a corporate blog in Chinese.