Dell launches low-cost PC in China

Dell Inc. has launched a new low-cost desktop PC aimed at grabbing market share in China. Instead of Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows Vista OS, it runs Windows XP.

Another PC the company is offering at a special price runs Linux. The Dell EC280 budget computer is a bid by the company to reinvigorate its efforts in developing countries. The desktop PC comes in a few different variations depending on user specifications, and costs between 2,599 Chinese renminbi (US$336) and 2,999 renminbi. Both specifications include 1.2GHz Intel Celeron microprocessors and run Windows XP and come with 15-inch CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors.

Dell has a special note under the 2,599 renminbi model noting that all cash discounts are factored into the price, and that users are limited to buying five of them at one time.

The company is also offering a slightly higher priced desktop, the Dell Dimension C51-n, with an Athlon64 3200 microprocessor from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a Linux OS and a 17-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. The company is offering a special price on the system, 3,999 renminbi.

The company does not say what version of Linux is on the PC. A Dell spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

The absence of Vista on budget PCs in China appears to be normal. Lenovo Group Ltd., the top PC vendor in China, also markets its lowest cost PCs with Windows XP. Both Dell and Lenovo say they “recommend Windows Vista Home Premium” in Chinese at the top of the Web pages where their low-cost PCs are displayed. But none of their low-cost offerings come with that OS.

In an e-mail, a Lenovo spokesman said its Jiayue series of desktop PCs are its lowest cost offerings in China, and range in price from 3,999 renminbi to 5,999 renminbi. The only one of the three listed on Lenovo’s China Web site was the 5,999 renminbi version, and its specifications are similar to the Dell Dimension C51, with the same AMD microprocessor. Instead of Linux, the Lenovo machine comes with Windows XP.

Late last year, the former head of the Asia Pacific region for Dell, and current CEO of Lenovo, William Amelio, said his company was targeting emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China because that’s where the fastest growth can be found.

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