Since its establishment in 1998, MTC has progressed towards the goal of becoming a diversified leading IT distributor in the region. How has the journey been so far?
In fact, the question itself includes the very specific terms that made the journey an amazing one. By the year 2000, our market share expanded from 0% to 60 % according to TAM numbers at that time. At a time when the memory business was underestimated, we envisioned its potential in the IT technology. So, we didn’t only bring it to life, but also worked hard to provide the region’s industry with total memory solutions, or in another word become “The Memory Company of the Region.” From that point, we diversified to bring all the memory big players to the region, keeping in mind that memory is part of the semiconductor industry. This started with Micron in 1998, Hynix in 2002, Samsung, Kingstone and finally Toshiba memory in 2013. With such a strategy, we became able to serve the market from A-Z in the areas of memory and storage. The ultimate role here was that we, closely, worked hand in hand with industry players to change our approach to the market based on the changing needs of end users.
I would emphasise here that Dubai is the place in the region for such a successful story to exist. This was true in the past and I strongly believe it will remain true in the future.
What is you go to market strategy for the year? Are you planning to strengthen your customer base or channel base? According to a recent prediction by Gartner, the semiconductor market is all set to grow. Being the only distributor for Samsung Semiconductor in the region, what opportunities or growth do you see?
Let’s start with the fact that there is a shortage in the memory market for the last seven quarters, which creates an increase in ASP (Average Sale Price). As the industry reports indicate, the global shortage of memory chips has produced new challenges for resellers and resifted the market gravely. This means that memory shortage has changed the landscape significantly. Now, this is a challenge from the one side. However, it’s our moto to try and convert the challenge into opportunity from the other side. In fact, I predict that the shortage will continue until the end of 2018, which will keep us alerted and motivated to fill the gap.
The key here is this fact, although market consolidation, technological barrier, and demand paradigm shift are the new reality, it resulted in what can be considered as new dynamics that are evolving to a more stable and predictable market.
To be more specific, demand paradigms are shifting from (CCD) Consumer Centric Devices towards what some call “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Just as examples, look to new industries such as: wireless and 5G networks, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous cars, data centres, robots and machine learning. This revolution is focused on companies and national infrastructure where demand volatility is low and predictable. Previously, people, and even some manufactures, thought that memories are merely for phones and computers. However, we may remember what the Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, said one day: Without memory there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilisation, no society, no future. Obviously, the great thinker was not talking specifically about “memory chips”. However, it’s obvious that it’s existence will contribute in making what he said more truthful in this day and age.
MTC has been nicknamed the ‘Memory Specialist’. With increased competition in the market, how do you see that this name stays for the years to come?
In fact, we are proud to have this nickname and I thank you for bringing it up in this interview. After all, we hope that reality demonstrates that the nickname fits us, but also that it will remain a true description of our position in the market now and in the future as the memory specialist of the region. We have been in this business for the last two decades and we will keep striving to earn that reputation in the memory industry, which is part of the much bigger semiconductors industry. As mentioned elsewhere in the interview, our strategy is evolving with regard to the SDD market, along with all other significant changes in the memory industry with the goal of keeping that unique position in the market for a long time.
Tell us about your major partnerships.
You know that the word “partnership” is sometimes used loosely in the business world. Instead, we take it very seriously in our business model. In short, we have two criteria to demonstrate that: 1) We show, through practical practices, that we work hard in three areas: Offer our partners technology that is most needed in the region, we do that fast in efficiently and we compliment it with the utmost after sale services. 2) We keep, in our interaction with big companies such as Samsung, Micron, Hynix, Toshiba and others, high levels of professional relationships. These are giant companies with great international reputation, and we aspire to make our services at a degree of professionalism that keeps them satisfies. This, indeed, explains the long and continuous partnership with them. Finally, we follow the same roles with our vendor partners in the region such as Carrefour, Panda Sharaf DG and others.
Please share your roadmap for the year.
Let me briefly talk about two essential points in the plane. First, to maintain and enhance our business strategies mentioned above based on advanced process of evaluation and creative thinking. Second, increased focus on the SSD market. As studies state, enterprise flash SSD will cross over enterprise HDD in 2019 due the real time date processing needed by IPC cloud. Moreover, reports estimate that the SSD market will see growth during the 2016 through 2021 period according to data IDC released recently. Also, it is forecasted that SSD unit shipments will grow by 15.1 % with a revenue that will hit $33.6 billion in 2021.
The above-mentioned facts prove that SSDs play an important role in making the digital transformation possible. Hence, and in accordance with the guidelines of our strategic planning, rest assure that MTC will lead the path in that direction.