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The case for locally-manufactured PCs

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When HP partnered with Matomo Technologies in 2003, to manufacture an affordable and reliable desktop computer for small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers, little did the market know that five years on, HP would become one of South Africa's largest manufacturers of locally assembled PCs.

Jason McMillan, HP business unit manager at Tarsus Technologies, says that HP's success with local assembly so far is due to them entering this space at the right time.
"It's no secret that SMBs are attracted to IT solutions that are known for their quality, yet at the same time, don't necessarily break the bank," says McMillan.
"While the more illustrious international brands in the desktop computer market were traditionally able to offer the kind of quality that buyers were looking for, their solutions, however, were slightly more costly to roll out," McMillan continues.
McMillan says that when HP approached Matomo, it was looking for a solution, which offered the best of both worlds.
Today, HP's local assembly facility is about far more than superior products at a competitive price – it's about driving transformation in South Africa.
"There are two types of computer buyers in South Africa," McMillan explains. "You have those companies that support South African products and then you have those who prefer to buy internationally manufactured items.
"The international proponents argue that their machines are better due to the fact that their manufacturing quality is superior to that of a local operation. On the other hand, the local supporters argue that South African manufacturers invest in the country where multi-nationals simply channel funds back to their overseas head offices.
"By assembling in South Africa, HP has managed to create a scenario where companies seeking the quality of an international brand name can make a positive contribution to their country. On the flipside, companies that are simply looking to support a local assembler gain access to the quality of an HP branded computer – it's a win-win situation," he says.
Furthermore, by supporting HP's local assembly operation, Tarsus is able to differentiate itself by offering the same level of service on locally assembled machines as it would offer on an internationally branded computing fleet.
"Another benefit for Tarsus is the fact that locally assembled HP machines allow for a greater degree of customisation than their imported counterparts," McMillan adds.
"When a company (or individual) has very specific requirements in terms of their HP system, Tarsus can assign a specific part number to that customer.  As a result, Tarsus can simultaneously meet the demands of a single user or even 10 000 users.
"Through HP's local assembly programme, we are capable of meeting a wider range of customer needs while offering cost-efficiency and reliability – and with the success this venture has achieved so far, there's no reason why HP shouldn't continue to dominate in the coming years," he adds.