Japanese electronics giant Hitachi is tipped to launch its PCs in Europe, beginning with the UK, after a fact-finding mission to the Cebit trade show in Germany in March.
Hitachi, better known for its monitor and storage products in Europe, launched its first PCs through US distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data last May. It quickly grew, becoming the country?s tenth largest portable PC vendor in the third quarter of 1996, according to IDC.
Sources tipped Hitachi to begin negotiations regarding a European launch at Cebit. Chris McKie, marketing manager at Hitachi PC in the US, admitted: ?We are going to Cebit, yes. We have no plans to announce getting into Europe.?
Europe is Hitachi PC?s most logical target after the US, McKie said. ?It will probably happen, but I couldn?t even give you a guestimate as to when. It is something we will investigate further.?
Hitachi has just launched in Canada, and a source said the UK will get Hitachi PCs first because it is English-speaking. ?With the US deal going well, Ingram would love an exclusive in the UK on a new line like that with a big ad spend behind it,? she said.
On Wednesday, Hitachi?s Tokyo headquarters confirmed it has increased the number of PCs it plans to ship in its fiscal year, ending 31 March, from its forecast of 100,000 units to 120,000 machines.
Worldwide, Hitachi boasts 330,000 employees and an annual turnover of $76.6 billion. Although the company already manufactures semiconductors, it hoped to use its size to break into the PC market to compete with major electronics competitors, including Toshiba, Canon, Sharp and Fujitsu, which entered the US PC market last June.
Hitachi claims that the function of its corporate sales channel in the US is to generate de- mand for its resellers, not to compete with them.
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