Kingdom’s first branded computer ‘ZAI’ assembled at Al-Faisaliah PC Factory

By Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News Staff
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2001-04-16 04:51

Al-Faisaliah Group (AFG) is the first company in the Kingdom to launch a computer assembly unit. Saudi Arabia’s first branded computer “ZAI” is being assembled at a state-of-the-art factory in Riyadh. The establishment of this factory comes as a result of close cooperation between AFG, Microsoft Saudi Arabia and Intel Corporation. AFG has become Intel’s first provider of total solutions in the Middle East. ZAI is also the only PC factory in the Middle East that is certified by Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) in the United States.

The factory, which is considered to be one of the most ambitious projects of AFG, has been established according to the most modern international standards. It is the first fully automated assembly line to produce PCs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. AFG intends to keep this factory at the cutting edge of international standards and to continue bringing in the latest high technology in the coming years.

In this regard, Muhammad A. Al-Ariefy, president, AFG said, “We in Al-Faisaliah Group are guided by the vision of Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal and also proper and stringent planning in all our business endeavors. All companies under the umbrella of AFG, enjoy an excellent reputation because they provide quality products and services with strong and long-standing links to some of the world’s best brands.”

He continued, “For us, at AFG, the establishment of this factory for the Saudi market is the next logical extension of our business, in light of our knowledge, experience and expertise in the field of information technology. We want to create a qualitative move in the Saudi industry, to match counterparts in the international markets.”

ZAI PCs are being offered at specifications and prices at par, if not better, than the most popular branded PCs available in the Kingdom’s market today. During a factory tour Bassam S. Abu Baker, Al-Faisaliah’s PC Factory Manager, emphasized that the quality control standards applied in assembling ZAI computers are extremely high. The factory operates on ISO 9001 and 9002 standards. The computers are assembled in a very healthy and clean environment, using the latest equipment. All PCs are tested by staff in a department headed by a quality control and standards identification manager before they are shipped out to the market. ZAI Computers are being made available through a network of over 200 dealerships, carefully chosen for their reputation and market standing. Technical support and warranty services are being provided by 150 specialized engineers working at 13 service centers Kingdomwide to ensure that customers get the best, fastest after-sales service.

The first batch of the products to go on shelves in leading computer stores Kingdomwide, came off the AFG assembly line in early October 2000. Production at the factory may be geared to meet any market demand. Current production is set at 200 PCs per day or 60,000 per year.

Al-Ariefy confirmed, “The important things we give to our clients and customers are first, a top-quality product, and second, credible guarantees for service and maintenance, further building on our reputation of 20 years standing with customers.”

AFG is among the pioneering conglomerate business entities in the Kingdom from the perspective of diversified commercial activities, product quality and services. Sales for AFG exceeded SR2 billion for the year 2000. The group decided to enter the PC assembly market because of the confidence that their unparalleled expertise, particularly in areas of assembling, operating and maintenance of hardware would furnish the necessary back up for their new product. “It is our belief that the required technology to produce PCs is not a secret any more,” explained Al-Ariefy. “The world has opened up and there has been an elimination of all kinds of barriers to become a truly global village. The dividing parameters between success and failure have become illustrated in one repeated theme: quality products and service. This is what we will, Inshallah provide the Saudi and Gulf markets.”

In further explanation of AFG’s business perspective, Hamad Al-Belaihid, Al-Faisaliah PC Factory’s general manager, added, “As you have heard from our president, the decision to establish the Al-Faisaliah Computer Factory, was born out of our firm conviction that the future — both the nation’s and that of AFG — lies in acquiring high-technology, particularly information technology and office management systems. Over the years, in fact over the last two decades to be exact, AFG Companies have built up a superb track record of sourcing, distributing and marketing the most advanced electronics.

Al-Belaihid then laid out a series of steps that the company has taken to justify their strategic objectives, their success and their reputation. They have forged alliances with some of the world’s best companies in the IT field. They aim to offer a product that is equal if not better than all other brands in market in every respect including quality craftsmanship, design, features and user friendliness. AFG will go better and further in terms of product warranty than other vendors. All ZAI PCs are covered by a three-year all-inclusive warranty.

“We hope,” concluded Al-Belaihid, “that these points send a message to the market, one that we at AFG feel confident in supporting — and that is that the name ZAI stands for personal computers of the highest quality and proven reliability.”

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