Coming soon to a fashion boutique near you: memory cards.
SanDisk Corporation, one of the world's largest suppliers of flash memory cards, which store data in devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras, is pushing to expand its business in the Emirates by selling its wares beyond electronics shops.
"As flash memory is becoming a fast-moving consumer goods product, we're trying to position SanDisk as such and trying to reach non-traditional channels," said Tareq Husseini, the regional sales director for SanDisk in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa. "This is the challenge we have at the moment."
The company is already supplying some of its products for display in petrol stations, including more than 70 Emarat petrol and service stations in the UAE. It has also been reaching out to more supermarkets and drug stores in the region. Retail outlets that sell items such as designer jeans alongside digital devices such as portable music players are another area of focus.
"We're looking for fashion stores where the digital lifestyle is displayed in a big part," Mr Husseini said.
SanDisk's regional strategy follows similar moves in the US, where the company has its headquarters and now holds close to 55 per cent of the industry's market share on a retail level, Mr Husseini said. But its share in the Middle East is closer to 40 per cent.
"On the retail level, you have limited shelf space," Mr Husseini said. He added that was why SanDisk had also mapped out thousands of small business owners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia who sell memory cards in kiosks alongside everything from pens to watches.
During the first quarter of this year, SanDisk's global revenues increased 19 per cent compared with last year, to US$1.29 billion (Dh4.37bn), the company announced last month. The growth was driven by demand for smartphones, many of which include memory chips from SanDisk, and topped analysts' expectations even as the company's profit fell 4.5 per cent.
"We have been actively managing our supply chain following the recent events in Japan and believe we remain on track to deliver a strong 2011 for SanDisk," said Sanjay Mehrotra, the company's president and chief executive.