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Dell Launches Low-Cost Computer In China

New model is priced between $335 and $515.

Dell Inc. unveiled a low-cost computer March 21 which it said was specifically designed for the Chinese market and could help large numbers of novices get online. The Dell EC280, priced at between 2,599 and 3,999 yuan (US$335 and $515), was developed by engineers at Dell's China Design Center located in Shanghai, the company said.

Dell, the world's number-two computer maker behind Hewlett-Packard, has manufacturing plants in China, Malaysia and India.

China's Internet is a rapidly expanding business, with 137 million Chinese estimated to be online as of the end of last year, state media said previously. "Today there are one billion people online worldwide and many of the world's second billion users are right here in China," chief executive Michael Dell said. "We intend to earn their confidence and their business."

Dell announced earlier this month a 33% dive in fourth-quarter profits but it is ranked number three in computer shipments in China and saw a 26% increase in revenues in Asia's second-largest economy last year. Western computer companies are looking to Asia to offset weaker growth at home. In an indication of the importance of the China market

"This year, our purchase from supplier partnerships in Taiwan and China will be $19 billion ," Dell told the briefing in Shanghai."Dells activities in China directly and indirectly supported 1.5 million jobs here to contribute more than $36 billion to annual GDP."

This week Dell also opened a corporate blog in Chinese. "About one fifth of the world's population speaks Chinese as their first language," Michael Dell said in a separate statement. "We will continue to have conversations in the language of choice of our customers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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