Asus advances as others retreat

Asus is gearing up for a more aggressive play for the notebook/ultrabook market in New Zealand in the wake of Sony and Samsung’s retreat from laptops.

David McKean, Asus New Zealand Systems Business Group business manager, says his figures suggest Asus is around number four in the New Zealand market when it comes to notebooks.

“There’s an opportunity with Sony and Samsung pulling out of that space,” McKean says. “We’re hoping we can slot in nicely in the market.”

McKean says the company is seeing ‘a lot’ of growth in the notebook business, however, he acknowledges that’s partly due to the small starting base.

“We’re seeing growth at a fairly rapid pace, which is somewhat different to what some of our competitors are experiencing.

“The notebook outlook is very good for us, though the market overall is steady.

“If you have a lot of share, you’re probably not seeing huge growth, but if you’ve got limited share like us, our outlook is very good.

Sally Vernon, Asus New Zealand and Australia PR manager, says the company will be growing its premium notebook offerings in the coming months.

The new models, expected to debut in between two to six months, will offer ‘more breadth and more spectrum in the price range’ Vernon says. “They will still be high-spec’d but more accessible not only for gamers – which is an area where we have had resonance – but also with PC power users.”

The company is also keen to grow its tablet share, which lags worldwide share, and McKean says new products coming soon will ‘reinvigorate our line-up’.

The company has confirmed that it will be launching the new generation MeMO Pad 7 and Transformer Pad TF103, announced at Comptex, in New Zealand in August.

The Transformer Pad comes with a keyboard dock. A standalone tablet version, without the keyboard, will be available at a later date, McKean says.

He says the company is now focused on less form factors for tablets, saying the range in the past has perhaps been too broad and confusing for customers.

“We had 13 different models of tablet. It is hard to manage and hard for consumers – and for resellers to decide where to position them all.”

He says the focus will be on 7”, 8” and 10” models, with some seasonal variations.

Asus’ smartphone range is not available in New Zealand, but McKean says ‘we are assessing how to go to market if we do launch smartphones here.”

He says the company wants to hold 10% of the combined New Zealand market by year end.

“We’re currently at around 11% in retail, but we need to grow that to around 15% to achieve the overall figure, as we are lacking in the commercial market.

“Our channel business is robust but there is certainly plenty of opportunity for growth. Our best guess at the moment is we’re around 8%.”

Commercial aspirations

McKean says there are a number of things the company still needs to resolve in its push for more commercial business locally.

“We have to have the right products – and we’re addressing that. We have them worldwide but we have not necessarily launched the right products for the commercial market locally.

“But we also have to have the right support network in place for next business day on site, and so on. We don’t have the service capability at this time.

“We have to have the resources to drive the brand through resellers.

“And then we have to partner with the right resellers.

“A couple of boxes have already been ticked and we’re working on the rest,” he promises.

“The process is long, but I’d like to have it all ticked in the next 12 months. But some of the boxes depend on our performance [in other parts of the market]. As other parts of the business grow we can invest in parts that don’t exist now.”

In April the company appointed Dove Electronics as a new distributor for its notebook and tablet range, alongside Synnex New Zealand.

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