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Corporate executives that were on a short visit to Oman

Koichi Suzuki

General Manager, Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Middle East

Koichi Suzuki, general manager, Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Middle East, was recently in Muscat to speak about the multifunction office and laser printer manufacturer's roadmap in the sultanate for 2012.

Konica Minolta hopes to achieve a growth of 5-8 per cent in Oman in 2012, while maintaining its market share of about 25-30 per cent through its partner Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD), according to company executives. To achieve this growth the group is targeting the public sector and increasing its focus on the commercial segment with its production digital printer equipment. We noticed that a lot of companies are starting to move towards digital printing for booklets and in-house magazines.

Digital printing has its own benefits, as printing can be done for short runs while being economically feasible compared to traditional offset printing, also unlike traditional offset, variable data for customising and personalising cards and mailers can be done on the digital press," said Katsuhisa Asari, sales manager, Konica Minolta Business Technologies, Middle East. Currently around 60-70 per cent of Konica Minolta's business in Oman comes from the government sector while the remainder is from the commercial side.

Suzuki said Oman contributes around 5-8 per cent towards Konica Minolta's overall revenue from the Middle East. In the Oman market, Konica Minolta faces competition from other international brands but executives claim that the company currently has the dominant share in the market. For 2012, executives admit that one of the challenges is to ensure timely delivery of new products, adding that any uncertain economic conditions that could prevail in the markets should also be taken into account.

Haitham Hani Abdou

Group Director, corporate marketing & banking business solutions, ITS

Haitham Hani Abdou, group director, corporate marketing and banking business solutions, at IT solutions provider International Turnkey Systems (ITS) was recently in Oman attending the Islamic Economic Forum. ITS, that provides solutions for Islamic banks in the Middle East at large that helps manage work flow and products, is now looking to enhance its presence in the sultanate with the introduction of Islamic finance in the country.

"The whole concept deals with successful integration of an Islamic window in conventional banks. In Shariah-compliant banks, there are several complexities. The engine we offer encompasses the products and maps the workflow within the bank where a structured, yet flexible system is established," explains Abdou.

ITS has been in the Oman market for nearly a decade now, with offerings such as the national switch for ATMs across the sultanate. The company saw a good opportunity to rope in conventional banks as clients, when the law allowing Islamic Finance was approved for the country. About five months ago, ITS held a conference with local banks to showcase their solutions. The firm is currently in talks with about four banks and is hoping to finalize deals in this area by the second quarter this year. "The current banking regulations will enable us to showcase our true value to this market," says Abdou.

Challenges will arise in incorporating a new system for a complex concept, but difficulties also lie in maintenance thereafter for which training of local manpower is imperative, points out Abdou. Having built similar solutions for neighbouring markets, Abdou says ITS has a fair idea as to what they might encounter in process. The firm is also open to partnerships with local companies to help introduce their solutions to the market.

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