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Dell looking for boost from Asian PC market

PC maker will be expanding to 1,200 cities in China by the end of 2008, and plans to increase presence in India too.

As the U.S. market becomes increasingly saturated with computers, Dell is looking eastward for new markets in which to sell its wares.

The Texas PC maker said Thursday it plans to increase its presence in China and India, the Associated Press reports.

"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," CEO Michael Dell said at a news conference in Beijing. He added that machines meant for needs of Indian customers would also be part of the plan.

Dell is the second-biggest PC maker worldwide, but in China lags behind Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, and Asus. Dell raised its profile in the country last fall when it agreed to sell its computers through local retail giant Gome. On Thursday the company said it will be expanding to 1,200 cities in China by the end of 2008, a giant leap from the 45 cities in 2007.

As concerns over a weakening U.S. economy grow, some economists anticipate consumers here will be spending less. But PC makers already know that the U.S. is not the place to expect giant profits--much of the growth in the PC business these days is coming in emerging markets, where many consumers are making their first computer purchase.

"When we look at the potential for expansion, we do see enormous opportunity ahead," Michael 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."