Inside Information: Jim Chiou

ASUStek has opened a Dubai office to help it grow outside of motherboards to become a global IT provider explains Jim Chiou, Middle East account manager

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By  Mark Sutton Published  June 30, 2003

|~||~||~|CME: ASUStek has just opened an office in Dubai, what it is the reason for this?

Jim Chiou: The Middle East is a territory that most of the Asian companies are not that familiar with, because of the geography and communications problems, but actually the Middle East is one of the most booming regions in the world. ASUS has been coming to the Middle East and working with our partners here for at least seven years. We are doing quite well in terms of product and service with our partner, but right now we are in the post-PC age—in this age, our products are going to two sides, it is not just focused on desktops, it is going to consumers, going to communications, going to embedded devices. So at this stage we are more concerned about the brand name, whether we can leverage our brand name in the post-PC age into every field. Our market here has been more on the reseller side, and with our product range expansion we have to do more marketing—that is the main purpose that we have set up here, in order to sell a wider range of products.

CME: What sort of post-PC products is ASUS offering?

Chiou: Right now we have at least twelve or thirteen product lines. In traditional components we have motherboards, graphics cards and optical devices. This is the traditional market that ASUS makes its main revenue from, but right now these components are less than 50% of revenue. The rest of the revenue comes from notebooks, PDAs, systems including barebones and also servers. ASUS is stepping into servers very aggressively. because of the popularity of the Internet, more and more servers are demanded, so servers are getting more important.

We also do ADSL cable modems. These communications products depend on the infrastructure of the country, so we don’t ship it to all countries, but we are selling it in Dubai. Then we do networking—we have switches, routers and wireless devices, wireless LAN, wireless home gateway, and we have a new product in development—mobile phones. We are not positioning ourselves as a motherboard manufacturer anymore, we are positioning ourselves as an IT product provider.

CME: How many people are there in UAE office?

Chiou: Seven. The set up is three parts: marketing and sales, the product managers and the international channels managers. For example we have a channel manager for Egypt, he is stationed there to be very close to the customer there.

ASUS is a technology-oriented company, worldwide, we are here to reflect this image, we are not just going to generate sales, we are focusing on our marketing. In the Middle East, we are not looking at short term sales, because we know that once we have set up the brand, once you can understand the market, then you can sell all the products in the channel. So the purpose of setting up this office is to understand the market, and pre-build the channel for each of the product lines.

Also in the meantime we will be doing marketing for branding, because branding to the end user will have a permanent effect.

CME: Have you appointed all of your channel partners yet?

Chiou: We take each individual product as an individual channel, because no two products come with exactly the same requirements, there is some overlap, but definitely not 100%. ASUS policy is to go with existing channel partners. For new products we are still looking for the proper way to work with [existing] channel partners, and then try to help customise [their abilities], to compensate what they are short of. Adding new distributors or adding new channels is the last thing that we will do.

CME: Will the Dubai office handle technical support?

Chiou: We are planning on localising the technical support in each channel, because we face some problems on import and export in some countries, and we don’t want to have a delivery gap for the end user. We are supporting our channels to have their own certified, services that match ASUS own quality control. We have a service centre in Dubai, and one in Iran, plus for the consumer business we have a worldwide Global Service Member network, in each country we have at least one GSM authorised service partner for notebooks and PDAs.||**||

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