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From Dell, a low-cost PC just for China

CEO Michael Dell (left) unveils a computer in Shanghai, designed for Chinese buyers, which will sell for $223 to $515. CEO Michael Dell (left) unveils a computer in Shanghai, designed for Chinese buyers, which will sell for $223 to $515. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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

Dell said the EC280 system, developed at its Shanghai design center, will be available in two configurations: 40 gigabytes or 80 gigabytes of disk storage.

To cut costs, the computer will have an Intel processor, either 256 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 be available only in China.

"Today there are 1 billion people online worldwide, and many of the world's second billion users are right here in China," chief executive Michael Dell said in Shanghai.

"We intend to earn their confidence and their business," he said.

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, Texas-based Dell has been aggressively pursuing foreign markets, including China and India.

In China, Dell will have to deal with 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. Revenue in China grew by 26 percent in the last fiscal year, he said.

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