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Dell Debuts China-Specific Desktop PCs

Dell Inc. has a new desktop computer targeting first-time and novice computer users in China.

Dell said the EC280 system was developed by engineers at the company's design center in Shanghai and will be available in two configurations -- 40 gigabytes or 80 gigabytes of disk storage.

To cut costs, the computer will have an Intel Corp. processor, either 256 megabytes or 512 megabytes of memory and the Windows XP Home Edition operating system instead of the newer Windows Vista.

Prices will range from about $223 to $515, and the system will only be available in China, Dell spokeswoman Jacqui Zhou said.

"Today there are 1 billion people online worldwide, and many of the world's second billion users are right here in China," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell said at a product launch in Shanghai. "We intend to earn their confidence and their business."

Dell said the main appeal of the system would be its low price, lower power consumption and compact size. It's about one-eighth the size of a traditional desktop PC.

Faced with slackening sales and stiff competition from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. in the United States, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell has been aggressively pursuing foreign markets including China and India.

In China, Dell will have to deal with the likes of market leader Lenovo Group Ltd. In an attempt to reach new consumers with lower incomes, Lenovo last year partnered with Microsoft Corp. and began offering pay-as-you-go PCs that are sold like prepaid phone cards.

Dell said the company's overall business in China is strong, growing and profitable. The chief executive said revenue in China grew by 26 percent in the last fiscal year.

In its most recent earnings report, the company reported that overall revenue from mobility products, which includes notebook computers, declined two percent to $3.8 billion despite a 2 percent increase in units shipped. Desktop PCs, meanwhile, saw an 18 percent decline in units year-over-year.

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