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Dell chats up Asian retail stores

Less-than-direct activities

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Dell continues to cheat on its twenty-year relationship with the direct sales model. Having fallen behind HP in the worldwide PC market, the Texas manufacturer earlier this month began selling selected desktops through WalMart stores in the U.S. and Canada. It's flirted with indirect sales in Europe. And now, it's in talks with various retail outlets in Asia.

Dell delivered the news to gathered media early today at its Asia headquarters in Singapore, Reuters reports. Paul-Henri Ferrand - head of Dell's Asia Pacific operations outside of China, Japan, and South Korea - said that the company was in talks with multiple retail chains and "specialized stores," but did not provide names.

"Asia is a diverse region so the indirect (retail) approach in the region will come sooner in some countries and later in others," Ferrand told reporters, according to Reuters. "What we want to make sure is that we customize our approach by country and target via these (retail) channels the customers that we want to go after." Reuters says that deals will include both laptops and desktops, with low-end systems sold through different outlets than high-end machines.

Dell's pact with WalMart marked the first time in 15 years the company had agreed to sell machines through an American third party. In the twenty-three years since chairman and CEO Michael Dell founded the company out of a University of Texas dorm room, it has typically sold systems direct to consumers via phone and the web.

The company rode its direct sales model all the way to the number one spot in the worldwide PC market, but last year, it was overtaken by HP.

"This is part of what we had previously announced some time ago - our strategy to introduce retail partners," Dell spokesperson David Frink told The Register. "The only thing to say is that is is part of our overall retail effort."®

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