Proudly South African` HP PC ruffles feathers

Johannesburg, 21 Oct 2003
Read time 1min 50sec

When Axiz and international PC brand Hewlett-Packard recently launched a "Proudly South African" PC, the d230, with the help of Matolo Technologies, another local PC builder asked for a retraction of the "misleading advertising", which was duly enforced by Proudly South African.

Pinnacle Micro contracts manager Venn Parsonson says: "To call HP or an HP product 'Proudly South African` is total rubbish. We sent a complaint to Proudly South African`s CEO, Martin Feinstein, and were assured a retraction would follow." Feinstein confirms this.

How South African must you be?

Anthony Fitzhenry, MD of Axiz, points out: "If Sony or BMW locates a plant in SA, I would say they can be Proudly South African. Does Pinnacle Micro say it has more local content in its PCs than HP? From my experience, HP has enough local content for me not to subscribe to that view."

Fitzhenry says the broader debate should take heed of the fact that multinationals like HP have invested a lot in SA - something which should not be discouraged.

Claude Schuck, HP SA`s business manager for the d230 product, says 50% of the value of the PC is "money spent in SA, which stays here". He says the definition of local content is under discussion. Local assemblers like Pinnacle Micro are investigating manufacturing plants of local components, and the d230 uses locally manufactured memory from Kalliba Technologies.

Feinstein explains that Proudly South African is a membership-based organisation, and HP doesn`t hold membership, nor are any of its products certified. "Matolo is a member, but its rights to use the logo do not extend to third-party brands. They did, however, request and were granted permission to state on a sticker on the product that it has been assembled by a Proudly South African member.

"Proudly South African is not anti-global. We must be careful of being exclusionary."

Schuck says HP`s public relations company has been instructed to correct the miscommunication.

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