Palm Continues to Mobilize in China

With the worldwide market for handheld devices on the decline, Palm Thursday reinforced its earlier decision to enter the PDA market in China.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker said has open a sales and marketing support office in China and has begun offering its Tungsten T, Zire and m500 products in the region. Down the line, the company said it expects to add to that roster soon including its new Zire 71 and Tungsten C.

The devices will be offered in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese or English language with CJKOS Chinese software system and PenPower handwriting software built into the PDA.

“We’re now selling the world’s favorite handheld into the world’s largest market,” said Todd Bradley, president and chief executive officer, Palm Solutions Group. “With the strength of our products and solutions, combined with support from our local distributors, partners and leading developers, we hope to delight end-users and enterprise customers in China.”

According to analyst firm IDC, China is the largest handheld-device market in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan) and accounts for 68 percent of total shipments in the region in calendar 2002. IDC also said China is expected to generate 14 percent year-on-year growth in 2003.

To help drive its distribution efforts, Palm has chosen to work with Digital China as one of its first distribution partners in China.

The company said it would also help its Chinese customers through a three-pronged service and support approach – from the retailer, over the phone or by e-mail.

If repairs are required, Palm is establishing a repair center in Suzhou with newly established drop zones in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

As for distribution, Palm and its local services partner Kerry Logistics have established a Hong Kong distribution center to support its Asia Pacific customers, including China.

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