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Dell to expand printer business to Asia

CEO Michael Dell says the company will be bringing its printers into the region by year-end, with China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore the likely recipients.

    With more than 19 percent of the all-in-one inkjet market in the United States, Dell now has its sights set on Asia.

    In a media briefing in Penang, Malaysia, on Monday, Dell CEO Michael Dell revealed that the company will be bringing its printers into the region by year-end, with China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore the likely recipients.

    In Australia, where the printers were launched last year, the company is enjoying "terrific" printer sales, he said.

    As with the company's other products, the printers will also be priced "very competitively," said Dell, sparking price competition, which lower prices for consumers.

    The "Dell effect occurs when we enter a market and the costs come down," Dell said. "We help make these products more affordable to a much larger group of people."

    The Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker sold about 2 million units within a year of its printer debut in 2003. The company expects printer products to produce $1 billion in revenue this year.

    According to Natasha Tan, senior research manager of peripherals at IDC Asia-Pacific, Dell's prospects in the imaging market "remain rosy," thanks to its competitive pricing strategy. However, she suggested that consumers may not see a drastic decrease in prices.

    "As printer prices have bottomed out, Dell is unlikely to shake up the market--unless its pricing is disruptive, especially for printer supplies," she said.

    "It is important that Dell waives its shipping charges and passes its savings from channel margins back to its customers to entice them to buy direct," she added. "As with any commodity product, especially low-end printers or multifunction printers, price is the underlying factor that drives demand."

    Zen Lee of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.