Taiwan’s Asustek to Bring Fight to Korea
By riding on a high demand for mini-laptops, the world's No. 6 PC maker Asustek will set up a direct sales office in Korea next year ― a key strategy for a bigger footprint by the Taiwanese manufacturer in the world's most-wired country.
"We've decided to set up a direct sales office in central Seoul by 2009, as time is ripe to effectively spur our products," Kevin Du, a general manager responsible for the Korean and Japanese markets, told The Korea Times in an interview, Tuesday.
"Asustek is fully set to strengthen product portfolios, ranging from the Eee PC, notebooks, and desktops to LCD monitors and increasing the number of direct sales offices has become a major trend for foreign electronics makers, here," he said, citing similar aggressive moves by Hewlett-Packard.
The ambitions plan comes amid the surging popularity of 'netbooks' or mini-laptops. Despite the continuing global financial deterioration, the demand for notebook PCs has stayed comparatively strong, with the launch of small-sized laptops mainly driving growth.
Netbook, which feature ultra-compact portability and is well-designed for light-computing tasks such as e-mail, basic Web browsing and word processing, is stealing the spotlight for younger office workers.
In addition to low prices, the popularity of such devices is also attributable to their more educational and mobile features than traditional models, hence very suitable for beginners, analysts say.
Samsung and LG Electronics are making a foray into the growing mini-laptop market with their NC10 and X110 models, respectively, while Dell and Asustek are following their bigger competitors, here.
"By sticking with a strategy for 7-, 9- and 10-inch netbook models in our first direct sales office, we are aiming to increase sales by as much as 20 percent," according to the officer.
Samsung and LG accounted for a combined 80 percent of the local PC market share and that of Asustek is a meager 8 percent, according to industry sources.
"Asustek hopes for a relationship with Hynix Semiconductor to use Hynix' solid-state drives sometime very soon. But we will maintain the current solid partnership with Samsung Electronics for the next-generation drives," he said.
Over the question of a possible delay for some of its products in South Korea because of the sliding local currency, he said the company will continue as scheduled, adding that the company doesn't have any immediate plans to increase prices for its notebooks for South Korean consumers.
"It's nearly impossible to take the top spot in the South Korean laptop market. But Asustek is confidant to better compete with the dominant players."