Mobile Devices Fuel Flash Memory Growth in Middle East and Africa

SanDisk's success buoyed by strategic partnerships made with retailers in key markets.

Dubai - SanDisk, the global leader in flash memory cards, has reported double- and triple-digit market growth in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) so far this year, driven by the region's high mobile phone penetration rates and a growing appetite for flash-based storage devices

"Based on global market research, our most popular product segments are flash memories for smart-phones, tablets and solid-state drives (SSD) for PCs. Our market in the Gulf is very mature and showing excellent growth," said Tareq Husseini, SanDisk's Regional Sales Director, Middle East and Africa (MEA).

In South Africa and East Africa, first-quarter sales for 2011 have exceeded the entire year's sales for 2010, with South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria leading the region. The UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the GCC have shown double and triple-digit year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2011.

"The UAE is the most mature market for flash storage for digital devices. As more high-profile concerts and exhibitions are held in the UAE, we have seen a lift in the usage of higher capacity cards, a positive sign for our business," said Sreedhar Sreekumar, Regional Sales Manager for SanDisk MEA.

SanDisk has entered into strategic partnerships with major distributors in the re-gion like Ahmed AbdulWahed Trading and Jarir Bookstore in Saudi Arabia, National Stores and Redington Gulf in the UAE, Salam Studios in Qatar and International Agencies in Bahrain. In South Africa and East Africa, SanDisk's retail presence is bolstered by alliances with distributors MiDCOM and Tudortech.

"Our alignments with key retailers and the tech-savvy predominantly young population of the region are our greatest assets. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries lead in unit sales, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia setting the trend," concluded Husseini.

Penetration of smart-phones in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia is 11 percent and 15 percent respectively, lagging behind the US where smart-phone penetration is currently at 50 percent. However, smart-phone penetration in the UAE is expected to increase 11 percent per year for the next three years.

According to the Gartner Research Group, tablet sales are growing exponentially worldwide with 15 million units sold in 2010 and 70 million units expected to be sold in 2011. According to premier global market intelligence firm, IDC, the solid-state-drive market is set to become a mainstream storage device, aided by ad-vancements in technology and price reductions.

About SanDisk:
SanDisk Corporation is the global leader in flash memory cards - from research, manufac-turing and product design to consumer branding and retail distribution. SanDisk's product portfolio includes flash memory cards for mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders; digital audio/video players; USB flash drives for consumers and the enterprise; embedded memory for mobile devices; and solid state drives for computers. SanDisk is a Silicon Val-ley-based S&P 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States.

©2011 SanDisk Corporation. All rights reserved. SanDisk, the SanDisk logo and SanDisk Ultra are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Cruzer Edge and SanDisk SecureAccess are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including expectations for new product introductions, applications, features, markets, and customers that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include among others: the market demand for our products may grow more slowly than our expectations, our products may not be available at the prices, or in the geographies or capacities that we anticipate, no security technology can be guaranteed to be 100% secure, our products may not perform as expected and the other risks detailed from time-to-time in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. We do not intend to update the information contained in this press release.


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by Grace Bantilan (few years ago!)

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