Dell Primes For Battle In China - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Dell Primes For Battle In China

Michael Dell doesn't like being No. 2, let alone No. 3. But that's where he is in China, and a distant third at that.

SHANGHAI, China — Michael Dell doesn't like being No. 2, let alone No. 3. But that's where he is in China, and a distant third at that.

Dell Inc. this week opened its third "experience store" in the world's second largest PC market, allowing first-time buyers to get an idea of what Dell has to offer. As its main markets mature and growth sputters, Dell is making a more concerted effort to tap into the higher growth in PC sales outside the U.S. It will be tough to pull off.

With 6.8 percent market share in China, Dell trails Lenovo Group, Founder Technology and Hewlett-Packard in desktop and notebook PCs. Its growing server sales helped it maintain its No. 3 ranking.

Few believe Dell can break out of the pack to attack Lenovo's 30 percent share anytime soon. Dell seems determined to stick with its current online sales model, and that doesn't sell in China, nor some of the other emerging markets.

"If you look at the growth in China now, the key driver is really coming from the lower tier cities. And in these places they need more advice on the technology," said Kitty Fok, a Hong Kong-based PC analyst for IDC. "So their success depends on how they are going to change their strategy to get in closer touch with the user."

Dell, however, seems to think its potential users will change. CEO Michael Dell, in China during a recent Asia tour, indicated that the online sales model that has done so well for the company in the U.S. will increasingly be applicable in emerging markets. "There is a place for a physical demonstration of our product, so we have some test stores in China and some starting in the U.S. as well," he said. "But we think more and more people will become comfortable buying online."

Dell has done pretty well with its direct sales model in China, but unlike the U.S., direct sales here is mostly done over the phone, not online. To grow its consumer business, Dell is opening stores in Tianjin, just south of Beijing.

Dell has two similar stores in Chongqing and Nanking. Customers can check out Dell products but, interestingly, cannot buy them there. For that, they need to call Dell or go online. "But the online selling mode is not in accordance with the consuming habit of local users," noted Simon Sun, an analyst with In-Stat.

Although China is the world's second largest PC market, its PC penetration is actually pretty low. Less than 10 percent of Chinese households have a PC. That compares to 74 percent in the U.S.

That presents plenty of opportunities. Yet competition is fierce in China, with many of the PC vendors honing specialties to survive. China's Founder focuses on large corporations, government and education. Tongfang makes a lean, low-cost PC for schools. HP wins in consumer, as it does globally. And Lenovo is good in just about every area, which is why it's the top dog.

Chip maker Intel Corp. is also looking to enable new competitors. Intel is talking with local OEMs about its Classmate PC. The price will be about $300 to $400, based on a Celeron M 900-MHz processor, 915GMS chip set, 256-Mbyte DDR2, 1Gbyte/2Gbyte NAND and a 7-inch LCD display that runs either Windows or Linux.

With Dell back at the helm, the company may see renewed focus—and that could help its drive in China. So far, Dell is eager to show its love of the Chinese market. Last month, it launched a Chinese blog so that users could offer feedback. And to top things off, it unveiled a PC especially designed in China and for Chinese users.

The Dell EC280 boasts a mini-ITX motherboard with an Intel processor 205, 256- or 512-Mbytes of memory, a 40- or 80-Gbyte hard drive and optional CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. It runs Windows XP Home Edition.

The EC280 was unveiled with much fanfare, yet the machine looked like any other—perhaps something you could get in the U.S. Asked what made the PC particularly suitable to China, Dell offered no response.

—Additional reporting by Cai Yan.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
News
The State of Chatbots: Pandemic Edition
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/10/2020
Commentary
Deloitte on Cloud, the Edge, and Enterprise Expectations
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/14/2020
Slideshows
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll