Dubai-based IT vendor TOUCHMATE, part of the 250-strong Quality Computers Group, has unveiled ambitious plans to expand its product portfolio even further as the company looks to boost sales at least 25% during 2005 and exceed the US$150m annual sales barrier. TOUCHMATE is determined to stay ahead in the product innovation race and plans to introduce low-cost mobile phones, an expanded line-up of media players and even build up a channel-to-market for its recently launched range of business software applications during 2005. An expanded notebook portfolio and home networking products are also on the business development agenda at TOUCHMATE. TOUCHMATE already offers in excess of 500 different products and plans to continue launching more than 100 new products every year. The rapid portfolio expansion is also driving TOUCHMATE to implement a segmented channel strategy with distributors focusing on specific product areas. Vasant Menghani, managing director at the Quality Computers Group, explained: “We have built and developed the TOUCHMATE name as a Dubai-based brand. We have excellent contacts with Far East contract manufacturers and bring high-quality and competitively-priced products with unique features to the market.” Coupled with its investment in building brand equity and high levels of stock availability out of Jebel Ali, Menghani reckons that dealing with TOUCHMATE is a more appealing option for many customers than attempting to interact with many different suppliers in the Far East. The breadth of its product range ensures that TOUCHMATE deals with many different channel customer types in the Middle East including distributors, retailers, resellers and even local assemblers. To appeal to the local assembly market, TOUCHMATE has put together an innovative model for supplying barebone systems ready for final configuration. “What we do at the manufacturing facility is open the case and put the keyboard, mouse and other material inside,” said Menghani. “This means the overall packaging is smaller and more units can be fitted in a container, saving the customer money.” Away from the hardware side of the business, Menghani — a trained software engineer — is also examining opportunities in the business applications space. TOUCHMATE has already launched a software package allowing companies to monitor and manage visa and passport renewals and keep track of employee records. The company has also launched back-up and recovery software as well as forming an alliance with an Indian accountancy software vendor to take its products to market in the region. The addition of new product areas such as business applications is also driving channel change at TOUCHMATE. “Our products are already available in 54 countries,” said Menghani. “We are now looking for distributors to focus on a specific product area such as PCs, peripherals or software in their territory. They will still maintain an element of exclusivity on that product because our goal is for every distributor to enjoy decent profitability working with TOUCHMATE.” Date: Tuesday, 31 May 2005, Author: Stuart Wilson, Source: ITP.net
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