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PRESS RELEASE: SanDisk opens retail sales in eight East European countries
Baltic, Balkan Countries Are Moving to Digital Cameras and Multimedia Cell Phones
HANNOVER, GERMANY, March 18, 2004 - SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) today announced that it has started selling flash memory cards and related products in eight Baltic and Balkan nations. These countries represent nearly 35 million people and range from highly-developed to newly-emerging digital electronics markets. The announcement was made at CeBIT 2004 trade show where SanDisk is demonstrating products in Hall 1, Stand 3D 2 and Stand 2A14.
SanDisk products are now available, or will be in early Q-2, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which border the Baltic Sea, and in the Balkan Peninsula countries of Bulgaria, Slovenia and the joint republic of Serbia/Montenegro. Throughout the region there is growing demand for digital cameras and an expected demand for the new generation of multi-functional cellular phones that will have slots for removable flash memory cards, according to SanDisk's new distributors.
Distribution companies that represent SanDisk in the region are Maksifoto AS for Estonia; Elkor Trade, SIA for Latvia; UAB Sergita for Lithuania; Fomus Ltd. for Bulgaria; Foto Tabor for Slovenia; and Refot B in Serbia/Montenegro. The latter company also will handle sales in Bosnia/Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Retail outlets carrying the SanDisk line vary from country to country. For example, in Bulgaria, which has a population of 7.6 million, products are sold in photo and electronic shops as well as "hypermarkets" - combinations of food markets and drug stores that are usually located on the outskirts of town. By contrast, in Serbia, with a population of 10.5 million, most sales are through small, independently-owned photo and electronic shops, since chain stores are virtually nonexistent.
"We see enormous potential in these nations since the trends closely follow those in Western Europe, and we're delighted to have these distributors working with us," said Rick Dyer, SanDisk's vice-president of worldwide retail sales. "As income levels increase in these countries, and as the prices of digital cameras and flash cards come down, digital photography is becoming universally accepted. From all indications, we expect flash memory cards to be popular for the new multimedia mobile phones, including camera phones, that will hit stores shortly. SanDisk is well-positioned to serve that market."
SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, California.
The matters discussed in this news release contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described under the caption, "Factors That May Affect Future Results" in the company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company cannot guarantee that it will succeed in selling its products in Eastern Europe. The company assumes no obligation to update the information in this release.
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(First posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 at 19:12 EST)