Dell sees strong growth in Asian markets

Dell is seeing strong demand for its products in several Asian markets and is pleased with customer acceptance of Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system, according to one of the computer manufacturer's senior executives in the region.

While Dell's business in China and South Korea is growing at more than 30% year-over-year, it growth in India is even greater at 60%, said Jim Merritt, vice president of North Asia operations at Dell and president of the company's Japan unit.

The growth hasn't been typical worldwide, however, where Dell has been battling a slowdown. The company's plan to revive its business depends partly on reaching more customers in emerging markets, particularly those mentioned by Merritt.

The plan also looks to focus on small and midsize businesses, enterprise services and storage, and to shorten the amount of time it takes to design new products.

In Japan, growth is more modest but still good at between 10% and 12%, according to Merritt. Dell Japan will be focusing on enterprise customers, services, software and peripherals as it looks to grow market share in the traditionally tough market where Japanese hardware and software vendors dominate, he said.

On the consumer side of the business, customer reaction to Windows Vista as been "good overall," said Walt Mayo, corporate director of Dell Japan's home and business sales division.

"In Japan, the last quarter was very soft," he said. "Dell did quite well and we think [the softness] was due to consumers waiting for Vista."

Last week, Dell reported profits of $673 million for its fourth quarter, which runs from December to February. The numbers, which are provisional, are sharply lower than the $1 billion it made in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was also lower. It fell to $14.9 billion from $15.2 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The company has reported only provisional earnings for the last three quarters due to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York into its accounting practices, it said.

In January, Kevin Rollins resigned as Dell's CEO and Michael Dell came back to the position.

Merritt said he thinks Dell's return to the company that bears his name will help "reinvigorate Dell and bring a fresh approach."

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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