Gulf Shadows Computer Systems has executed smart strategies to emerge as a strong distributor in IT business. GSCS has a comprehensive components portfolio and is in the process of emulating that on finished products front as well. Eng. Feras Kayali speaks with VAR Magazine about the company’s growth and outlook
Discuss Brands you have distribution rights to?
We started distribution more than 7 years ago with Foxconn & Nanya. Added A-Data and several VGA products in time. We are proud to be the biggest VGA distributor in Middle East in terms of number of brands and reach, Sapphire, Power Color, Galaxy, Sparkle, EVGA and Zotac. Most of them are exclusive for Middle East. Last year we added Philips LED and Netis networking exclusively for multiple regions.
Discuss the focus and growth in other territories including the CIS, Levant and North Africa?
We are proud of having a wide breadth of good relations with many export customers over the past 15 years. We have dedicated sales teams for CIS, Levant and North Africa. Sales in most markets is growing. However since last year the primary focus has shifted to Dubai companies and the Management is providing more support to local resellers. At GSCS, as we cannot support more export customers than we already have now, partnering with local resellers will provide us greater market reach.
What are the new markets you are likely to focus on?
As mentioned, the U.A.E and the GCC in general by specifically KSA. We are seeking professionals to build a local team in KSA to grow our business there.
Elaborate on your focus with your QDS Tablets?
Under the QDS brand, we offer 6 SKUs at the moment, from the 7” WiFi to the 10” 3G models. We offer it here locally as well as across the region. We have reach in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the rest of the countries in the region. We have assigned some distributors to meet the demands of the power retailer segment and some to address the requirements of the channel segment. We started in last July and therefore it is less than a year old. There has been a steady rise in enquiries from customers. So Business outlook is good. We are making sure that the focus is on quality and not just offering cheaper products in the market. The RMA percentage is very low and which is why we have received significantly larger repeat orders once they saw first-hand the quality of our products. This is especially so in KSA and Jordan and I can claim with certitude that in Jordan, we are in the top three after Samsung and IPad.
How have you faced up to the challenges of the components Business?
Challenges are there but we are proud to having a stable and growing share in certain segments of components.
We have components that are essential to build high end performance machines. We are one stop distributor for such requirements. There is demand for high end graphics cards and other components from gamers, professionals and the Bitcoin collectors. In Memory Business, the competition is on quality basis and not prices anymore, especially in the exports channel who have to bear import taxes and significant RMA expenses even for products under warranty of the quality is suspect. So they don’t mind paying a reasonable premium for better grade products and avoid the hassle of product returns. So the trends in the market is more towards Brands.
Was 2013 a year of growth? How is the outlook for the current year?
We had incremental growth in 2013. The revenues growth may not have been significant in terms of revenues but we did grow the GP percentage. We added several Brands last year which helped us grow the revenues. This year as well, we forecast growth in revenues since we have added Netis Networking as a Brand.
Netis is a strong networking brand in China and part of the Netcore group. We have good hopes riding on this Brand and we will go all out to make this successful in the market here. We will offer great support including RMA to ensure the customer gets premium service and is only too happy to come back to us with repeat orders.
Elaborate on the Notebooks Business trade?
We are doing quite well in Notebooks locally. We have good partnerships with major brands. Since 2010, GSCS is increasing the notebook sales till we have achieved 250k Units last year. We are trying now to have better relations with one brand over another by achieving distribution rights for a certain region or exclusive SKUs for GSCS. To a certain extent we have achieved progress.
Do you focus on consumer or commercial segments? What is your focus on power retail?
We are strengthening in every sector steadily. Still our main focus will be on the channel and consumers.