The significant contribution made to Intel's record quarterly revenues of $10,09-billion and $1,9-billion profit by its EMEA region, including South Africa, is set to continue as African markets mature and governments recognise that ICT is a major driver in the continent's development.
Gordon Graylish, vice-president sales and marketing group, EMEA, says the strong results posted by Intel were an indication of things to come.
"What we saw [in these results] was continued strength across the world and in all sectors," Graylish says. "We're headed in the right direction and, moving forward, we're going to continue that way. Our new products have been accepted extremely well and we've been able to deliver them on time – in some cases ahead of schedule."
Graylish says that EMEA made a significant contribution to this quarter's revenues.
"Europe was particularly strong in mobility and there has been a continued move towards notebooks," he says. "Our Centrino and vPro technologies are moving really well in this market."
But it is in the Africa region that Graylish sees some distinct trends emerging – trends, he says, that bode well for Intel in the future.
"Generally in Africa, we are clearly seeing a rise in the consumer class in a number of countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia," he says. "At the same time, we are seeing governments becoming a lot more focused on ICT as a key driver of development.
"They're saying: let's not compete with the strength of our arms, but with the strength of our brains."
Graylish says that the South African market is a lot more developed than many other African countries.
"In South Africa we're seeing increased acceptance of our full range of products – quad-core is gaining, vPro is moving across all sectors," he says. "But we're also seeing new market opportunities arise with the likes of educational computers a lower price points – technology that enables people to get on to that first rung of the ladder. We've seen schoolchildren and teachers really embrace this technology.
"I would say that South Africa is a mirror of Europe, apart from this low-cost base."
Graylish, who is a member of president Thabo Mbeki's advisory board on technology, says that while access to cheaper broadband connectivity remains an obstacle in South Africa – and the continent – it is an issue that will eventually be addressed.
"Broadband costs are a huge hinderance factor – to the point that they can kill development," he says. "But government clearly has a focus on how to crack the broadband issue. It realises the need for connectivity and enabling the population to participate [in the broader economy] … it's just a question of delivery … of execution."
This, he says, will further boost the adoption of technology.
"We're certainly seeing strong growth of computing in Africa and we expect this to continue in the next quarter and into the future," Graylish says.