Ng Tian Beng is the vice president and managing director of Dell for South Asia region, looking after 30 countries including Nepal. Accompanied by Mir Sadat Ali, country manager for Nepal and Rest of Asia Pacific (RoAP), Beng was recently in Nepal on a business visit. In an interview with Gaurav Aryal and Sanjeev Sharma of New Business Age, Beng and Ali talked about prospects and challenges of Nepali market for Dell. Excerpts:
How do you see Nepal as a market for Dell products?
Beng:There are a lot of opportunities in this market especially in the commercial segment and data centres. We are the market leader here on the consumer side. We have been present in this market for around 17 years. We are optimistic as there are a lot of growth potentials for us here. Nepal is a country with young population and the Internet penetration is still quite low compared to other countries. And there are potentials for growing Internet penetration. So, we are very excited about our future.
The personal computer (PC) market is slowing down globally with the increasing use of smartphones and tablets. How is it affecting Dell’s business?
Beng: It is a perception that is affecting the PC business. But, our business is still growing well in the PC segment. People are buying tablets and smartphones, but they also have two device and not too many people have only one device. People are still buying PC and its business is still growing for us. People need notebooks and desktops, as tablets are difficult for content creation.
Do you see the rapid rise of market for commercial segment such as data centres in countries like Nepal?
Beng: There is a growing demand for server and storage, as everybody needs more information and data to be stored. Security issues are also fuelling the market for data centresin the emerging market.
Ali: In Nepal I see a lot of growing business prospects compared to countries that already have basic infrastructures in place. Here, still a lot of infrastructures are needed. The good news is that the government of Nepal is now really focusing on IT, not only on data centres but also on education sector. They are also revamping their telecom, banks and education departments. Nepal is on the fast track of growth from the technology perspectives. We will grow in the same pace that Nepal is growing.
Dell has recently focused more on ultrabooks, notebooks and chromebooks. Do you think that this business will keep up with the pace?
Ali: We have entry-level notebooks in this market for quite some time. We are planning to enhance the available product range with latest and updated models. We are also trying to bring chromebooks and see the market prospects. We are bringing all the models available in the region to Nepal. It means we are keeping Nepal at par with the developed countries. Whatever the possible products and service line Dell has, we can bring that into Nepal. We have not yet launched tablets here, but soon we will bring our tablets too.
Existence of cheap Chinese products and illegal import of genuine products are seen as some of the threats to genuine branded products. How are you planning to tackle those issues?
Ali: We are really facing some difficulty here from people doing parallel imports by avoiding duty. Our plan is to go and talk to the government for controlling this. Other countries like Bangladesh have successfully stopped this. They say that they don’t need refurbished products in their country. In Nepal also, the government is trying to control the parallel import. We are working with them and if they are coming with legislation, it will be good.
Beng: We are also taking some internal actions with the help of our colleagues from other part of the world. The situation is improving with their help. Regarding Chinese goods, the Chinese vendors are very competitive but we are quite confident about our products and solutions. We can differentiate ourselves through our products and services that are a lot better than the Chinese ones. We have a lot of advantages in terms of compatibility in the data centres while connecting with different solutions.