Dell stays faithful to Sony power

Despite all the negative publicity Dell Inc. has encountered over its battery recall, the biggest in consumer electronics history, the company's CEO and founder, Michael Dell has stressed he retains his trust in Sony Corp., the company's battery supplier.

"Sony is well-known for its safety. The problem in this incident is a latent issue, which has developed over-time and was not present until recently," said Dell, during his visit in Hong Kong last Friday as a guest speaker for the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. "We will make sure Sony improves its safety in the future."

The founder was flooded by media enquiries on the mass battery recall during his Asian tour last week, which covered Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong. The recall involved around 4.1 million laptops or about 15 percent of all laptops sold during the period between April 2004 and July 18 2006. But it is not the first time that Dell has been forced into announcing a recall. Last December the company called back 22,000 laptop batteries.

Meanwhile for long-time Dell user, Hong Kong-based Colliers Asia, the recall will not affect its future PC procurement strategy. The global real-estate consultancy company has been using Dell's desktop and notebook for eight years. The company has purchased more than 100 Dell laptops for its users within the region and "luckily, none of them are involved in the recall," said Stanley Lau, general manager for corporate IT of Colliers Asia.

"Our relationship with Dell remains unchanged," said Lau. "We are well-informed of the situation. They have been very responsive and helpful just as they have when with other technical problems before— I'm not too concerned with this recall."

In addition to desktop and laptops, Colliers' IT infrastructure is also 95 percent Dell-based. Having a single-branded infrastructure, Lau said his team can identify, manage and react to technical problems much easier and faster.

When asked about the company's procurement strategy, Dell said his company has a supplier quality program, like other computer manufacturers.

"We will continue to look into the issue, and it is always part of Dell's core objectives to ensure safety for our customer," he said. But he did not reveal details in future improvement on supplier management.

Another major Dell-related development last week was the news of two of its major executives in China and Japan, David Miller and Sotaro Amano, joining rival PC maker Lenovo. When asked about the impact to its business in Asia, the founder was confident with the company's position in the market.

"According to IDC's figure, we are in number one position in the [Asia] market with 80 percent growth, but Lenovo is in number three with only one percent growth," said Dell. "For China, particularly, we are growing more than 30 percent. Asia is our fastest growing market."

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