BEIJING – Dell Inc., the world's No. 2 PC maker, is developing new models aimed at Chinese and Indian consumers to drive sales in fast-growing Asian markets, CEO Michael Dell said Thursday.
Personal computer makers increasingly are designing products with Chinese buyers in mind. Both Dell and China's Lenovo Group unveiled low-cost PCs last year for rural and novice users.
"This year, we plan to introduce 50 percent more notebook platforms than we introduced last year, including exciting new products aimed exactly at Chinese customer needs," Dell said at a news conference.
New models are meant to meet "specifically the requirements that we see in countries like China and India," he said.
Dell says its consumer sales in China grew by 54 percent last year, more than three times the industry average of 17 percent.
"When we look at the potential for expansion, we do see enormous opportunity ahead," Dell said. "As far as the U.S. goes, I think the U.S. will be OK, but not the fastest-growing. We expect more growth in Asia."
The company last month reported its fourth-quarter profit fell 6.4 percent and cautioned that more cautious spending by U.S. customers could hurt its business.
Dell says it has about 18 percent of China's market by revenue and 10 percent by number of units sold. Worldwide, it has a 16.1 percent market share, according to consulting firm Gartner Group.
In a bid for a bigger share of China's market, Dell broke with its Internet sales model and struck a deal in September to sell PCs through the country's biggest electronics retailer, Gome Group.
Dell's retail presence in China will expand to 1,200 cities by the end of this year, up from just 45 in 2007, said Amid Midha, Dell Greater China president, who appeared with Dell.
"By this summer, we will have more unique products coming to China," Midha said.
The Round Rock, Texas-based company has two factories in Xiamen, a southeastern Chinese city, and a design center in Shanghai that the company says is its biggest outside the United States. Dell said the company expects its purchases of components and other products in China to rise by 27 percent this year to $23 billion.
The company is undergoing a restructuring that Dell said has made growth in China "dramatically better" than a year ago.
Still, Midha said, "We have a lot of things to do before we can consider ourselves to be successful in China."
Also Thursday, Dell said it will donate $210,000 to build six education centers in China to teach computer skills to the children of migrant workers.
Dell shares rose 2 cents to $19.53 in premarket training.