the success of its campaigns in Jordan and Lebanon, Intel will push
even more for the removal of import duties on IT products in the GCC
"Both Jordan and Lebanon have reduced duty on IT imports, which
is why I see no reason why the Gulf states and Egypt cannot do the
same. For Intel, it's a top priority to convince regional governments
about the need for low or zero duties on IT," said Gilbert
Lacroix, general manager for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).
Lebanon had duties of 15 per cent until four months ago. But CPUs and
memory still have five per cent. In Jordan, the import duty has been
zero for a year from 30 per cent earlier. But a sales tax of around 16
per cent is payable at the time of import.
Currently, Saudi Arabia imposes 12 per cent, Bahrain 8 to 10 per cent
and Oman 10 per cent. In the UAE it is 4 per cent, while Egypt tops
with 22 per cent. Meanwhile, the region has yet to witness any
slowdown in PC sales contrary to what is happening in the U.S. and
"Intel Mena grew 48 per cent during the first quarter compared to
last year, which shows that there has been no slowdown. My forecasts
are for strong growth rates to continue for the full year."
While competitors have been able to make some headway over the recent
past, Intel processors continue to power well over 80 per cent of the
PCs in the region. "The PC is not dead by any account. In line
with our extended PC concept, it will now go on to grow to be the
central point for Internet connectivity inside the home, be it for MP3
players, video games, security systems, etc," said Lacroix.
"In the near future, we will have 20 to 30 appliances around the
house which are linked to the Web. And instead of separate ones, the
PC will act as the server. "But we are pushing with the
manufacturers for the PC to be more user-friendly than it is
Intel has produced the findings of a survey of PC usage during the
month-long Dubai Shopping Festival last month at the Deira City
Centre. A portion of the feedback was sourced online through the news
portal Arab Wide Web.
There were 700 respondents, 13 per cent of whom were women. Interpro,
based in Istanbul, analysed the findings. Not surprisingly, surfing
the Internet is the main use of the PC for those polled. About 52 per
cent do so or plan to purchase a computer for that purpose. But only
18 per cent feel that a PC will help them do their shopping from home.
The PC is a "useful" tool for 44 per cent of those surveyed,
a "discovery" tool for 19 per cent and an
"entertainment" tool for 18 per cent. Sixty per cent of
those polled felt the Internet was today's most innovative technology
while the mobile phone ranked a distant second with 16 per cent.
"The results show Middle East consumers are increasingly adop-ting
new technologies to raise the quality of their lifestyles," added