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Thinking Global, Big Chinese PC Maker Allies with NComputing

Haier Computer Group wants to jointly pursue large educational and government opportunities

Lenovo's not the only Chinese PC maker with global ambitions. So has Haier Computer Group, reportedly the country's second-largest PC maker and part of the $16 billion Haier Group, already the world's fourth-largest white goods manufacturer.

So, Haier has tied up with NComputing, the American company with the ultra low-cost virtual desktop solution, to jointly pursue large educational and government opportunities such as the one they captured in 2007 in Macedonia to supply 180,000 seats throughout the country's school system for under $150 a seat including hardware, software, and network infrastructure.

It was the world's first nationwide "one-computer-per-child" program and the pair won it with Haier's hardware. They underbid what Dell and Wyse were asking by more than half.

Now they mean to chase other opportunities, initially targeting 18 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America that have large-scale computerization projects in schools and government offices open for bid that are worth a total of over 1.5 million seats.

By combining NComputing's virtual desktops with Haier's scale and price advantages on monitors and host PCs, they figure their joint solution can be offered for 60%-75% less than traditional desktop PCs or thin clients.

Over time, the companies expect to broaden their partnership to other countries.

NComputing already claims significant presence in Africa with nearly 30 nations having deployed or piloted its solution.

According to one estimate, total government spending on technology just in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia will be $7.3 billion in 2009 and another $7.6 billion in 2010.

NComputing's premise is based on that fact that the PC today is so powerful most applications use only a small fraction of the dingus' capacity. Its virtual desktops allow many users to share the unused capacity while providing full PC experience.

And the devices consume just a watt of electricity, reducing energy costs and supposedly making it the greenest computing solution on Earth.

The company says it's ideal for places where access to power is too expensive, unpredictable or close to non-existent.

The widgetry supports both Linux and Windows platforms. The Macedonian government, for instance, chose Ubuntu Linux for its school program.

NComputing says it has over 40,000 customers and believes five millions people in over 140 countries use their virtual desktops every day, half of them in the U.S.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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