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Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Dell to build third plant in Asia

DRIVING SALES The US personal-computer giant announced plans to build a new facility that would speed up its deliveries to Australia, Singapore and India

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Dell Inc, the world's largest personal-computer maker, said it will build a third manufacturing facility in Asia to ship made-to-order products more quickly to customers in countries such as Australia, Singapore and India.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said yesterday that the plant will take orders -- and complaints -- from clients in south Asian nations, which contribute a quarter of the region's sales. Dell runs a facility in Japan and another in China's southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen, which service north Asian countries. Dell wouldn't say where or when it would build the plant.

"That move is aimed at the Indian market," said Kitty Fok, a Hong Kong-based analyst with IDC Asia Pacific Pte, a technology research company.

"India will be the next China," she said yesterday.

Dell is trying to drive sales in Asia, the Middle East and Europe as orders slow in the US, where it gets two-thirds of its business. In Asia, where customers prefer to see a product before buying it, Dell lags rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Lenovo Group, China's top PC maker. All three companies outsource manufacturing to Taiwanese computer makers.

Dell has about 7.5 percent of Asia's PC market, said William Amelio, the company's senior vice president, in an interview. Asia accounted for about 11 percent of Dell's sales of US$49 billion in the year ended Jan. 28.

Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo sell their computers mainly through retail outlets. Dell doesn't plan to change its made-to- order and direct-shipment business model in Asia. Selling Dell's computers through retail outlets would dilute the company's competitiveness, said Amelio.

"We can't have our feet in two camps," Amelio said.

Selling retail "would rip the heart out" of the company.

It takes Dell about "three to five days" to ship an order to customers in China, he said.

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