Ex-lenovo head gives viewsonic new lease of life

After the departure of regional manager Aaron Fright in June last year, ViewSonic has not had too much to say for itself in the Middle East market. But with former Lenovo channel manager Junaid Gul now settled into the hotseat it’s a case of ‘all systems go’ again. Regional expansion, new staff and negotiations with distributors all figure highly on his plans.

Tags: LG ElectronicsLenovo GroupMetra Computer GroupSamsung CorporationViewSonic Corporation
  • E-Mail
Ex-lenovo head gives viewsonic new lease of life
By  Andrew Seymour Published  August 6, 2010

CME: You joined ViewSonic from Lenovo six months ago. What are the major priorities for you at the moment?

JG: We have historically been branded only as an LCD vendor, but there is currently a major focus on diversification into other products as well, such as projectors and digital signage. Now, when I say that, ViewSonic has been selling projectors for the last 15 years, it’s just that the focus was never there.

CME: So what are you doing differently now?

JG: We are hiring new partners — audio-visual distributors — focused on projectors in the UAE. We are in talks with Almoe right now. We are working on huge tenders in Saudi Arabia with them and we are in the process of signing them up as our distributor for audio-visual products.

CME: How much of your business comes from display products?

JG: Right now, about 90% comes from LCDs and we want to change that to 60% — so 60% from LCDs and 40% from projectors and digital signage. We want to grow those further because the margin on the LCD business is very low and getting slimmer every day.

CME: What time frame have you set yourself for achieving that?

JG: By mid of next year. The way I look at it is that we have to have the right partners, which I want to complete by the end of this year. You have to get the new partners on board and let them settle down, which takes a quarter.

CME: So channel restructuring is a key thing for you right now then...

JG: Yes, 90% of my time is spent doing that right now. Having the right channel is the key focus to getting the right kind of reach in the market. We are hiring new partners in Egypt because we see this as a very focused market. We have signed Better Business as a partner and it will be selling our complete range, and obviously focusing a lot on projectors and digital signage. Nothing was happening in Saudi Arabia so we are now focusing on that market because it is one area where a lot of growth is taking place. I am in Saudi Arabia every 15 days and we will be hiring a couple of people there too. They will operate from home initially and then we will set up an office later on — maybe next year. We will hire two sales guys there to serve the market.

CME: Did you have partners in Egypt and Saudi Arabia previously?

JG: We had Metra in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia, but we are looking to add two more distributors in Saudi for our LCD and projector business.

CME: Has the relationship with Metra ended then?

JG: Both the agreements with Metra are still there, but we are looking to expand because we are not covering the market as per its potential. Metra also has other brands as well. It does a lot of Samsung in Egypt and a lot of BenQ and LG in KSA. We need to have more partners rather than share our business.

CME: You mentioned you are looking to sign two more distributors in KSA. Have you identified candidates?

JG: I have. I am looking at BDL and Asbis, and I am in talks with Redington as well, but it will most probably be either BDL or Asbis. With Asbis the best part is that they don’t have anybody other than AOC, so they have the capacity to carry another monitor brand. BDL does LG and Samsung. We want to finalise it this quarter because we want somebody there who can start working with us immediately.

CME: What are the main demands distributors have of you as a vendor?

JG: Credit terms, price protection and some kind of confidence level that if they get stuck with stock we will help them.

CME: There has been some personnel change at Viewsonic Middle East in the past year. Who are the people leading your channel business in the UAE now?

JG: We had two people join us two and a half months back. One is Rizwan Ulhaq, our corporate sales manager, who came from CAD Emirates, and the other is Lalit Chainani, our reseller manager who takes care of the resellers in Khalid Bin Waleed Street. He came from Bluebell Computers. They both have 10-plus years’ experience in the IT market so they know the business.

CME: Viewsonic also has a netbook and notebook portfolio. Any plans to introduce those products here?

JG: In this region I am focusing on projectors, digital signage and monitors. We have a lot of other products, such as TVs and eBooks, but I don’t want to introduce everything at the same time here. My top priority would be to bring the notebooks and netbooks here, but I want to stabilise the channel first.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code