The computer division of Chinese appliance maker Haier Group and US-based NComputing have formed a strategic partnership to provide low-cost computers to educational and government institutions around the world.
The partnership will enable Haier Computing to expand in the US market for the first time.
The partnership also will increase the company's presence in more than 30 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America.
Haier has an $18 billion global business, and is the fourth-largest white goods manufacturer in the world.
Although Haier Computers is one of China's larger PC companies, it hasn't had a large presence overseas and is virtually unknown outside its home country.
NComputing makes "virtual desktops" with its vSpace software that allows up to 11 users to work on one PC as if it were a server, giving end users the experience of working on a dedicated PC.
NComputing estimates that it reduces energy costs by 90 percent, capital costs by 75 percent and maintenance costs by 75 percent.
"When you take a look at large projects in education in the developing world, often they get donated old, used computers," said NComputing CEO Stephen Dukker.
"These have a terrible result such as generating tons of E-waste and very high operating costs. Whereas here is a brand new technology that has remarkably reduced the cost of computing, and is removing the last barriers to deploying virtual computers everywhere," Dukker said.
The two companies became partners to win a contract for the "one-computer-per-child" program in Macedonia in 2007, beating out 19 other bidders.
There, the two companies helped the Macedonian government install 180,000 computing stations throughout its school system.
It was the largest project NComputing had tackled, and the largest offshore installation Haier has completed to date.
"At that time, we compared many solutions, but found NComputing multi-user solutions were the most economical," a spokesman for Haier said.
"The combined solution with Haier host PCs and monitors was very well suited for Macedonia's primary and secondary schools' needs," the spokesman said.
Under the terms of the current agreement, the two companies will initially target 18 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America that have large-scale computerization projects in schools and government offices.
In the next eight months, the two companies will be working together on deals representing approximately 1.5 million workstations.
Over time, Haier and NComputing expect to expand the partnership to other countries, Dukker said.
"Haier is an outstanding partner. They have manufacturing facilities associated with their appliance businesses in many parts of the world, which gives Haier a tremendous advantage," Dukker said.
He added that the two are working together on programs in Nigeria, where Haier has most of its manufacturing sources for the African markets.
"This type of local presence gives them a tremendous advantage in many of these areas," Dukker said.
NComputing is also working with Haier on becoming partners within the domestic China market, targeting deployments in schools, hospitals and small and medium-sized businesses.
About 30 percent of NComputing's installations to date have been in the United States, largely in educational facilities.