A Bright Outlook
PC vendor Acer is on a mission to ramp up its business in a number of markets throughout the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
PC vendor Acer is on a mission to ramp up its business in a number of markets throughout the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. A revised channel strategy is central to Acer achieving that objective. Amin Mortazavi, vice president, MEA at Acer, reveals what the company has in store for the channel in 2013 and beyond.
The uncertainty in the global economy has continued to put the kibosh on the Middle East and Africa expansion plans of numerous vendors during the past 18 months and PC maker Acer hasn’t been spared.
The company was forced to write off $150m through product overstocking in the EMEA channel in mid 2011, a move that created displeasure among its channel partners and one that Acer hasn’t fully recovered from.
The development led the Taiwan-headquartered vendor to shift its sales strategy in 2012 from chasing market share and selling into the channel, to focus on sell out, to avoid overstuffing of its channel.
The channel clean-up has also been accompanied by a shift in channel strategy as Acer has moved to improve demand generation and marketing, and turn to the channel for fulfilment.
“Acer is a 100% channel-driven company and as we reconnect with all our channel partners, VARs, resellers, retailers and distributors, we would like to go back to building sustainable profitable growth for the business in MEA,” said Amin Mortazavi, vice president, MEA at Acer, who joined the company at the start of Q4, 2012, after a successful stint at HP where he was GM for IPG business in the Middle East.
Events in the recent past have also seen Acer realign its business with the company forming two groups, one to focus on the traditional lines including PCs, notebooks, servers, projectors and monitors, and the second unit that deals with “touch” products including tablets and smartphones.
Mortazavi admitted that Acer has over the last 18 months, been a little detached from channel partners and customers. “What I have done since I joined Acer, is to look at the channel set-up that we have and make sure that we have the “right” establishment that supports us to go back to sustainable profitability. This is the tag line for me and Acer in 2013, and I do believe we have a couple of aces in our sleeves,” he said.
Mortazavi emphasised that Acer would like to make certain that it has a refined channel model starting with the distribution landscape. “We have started to review our distribution partners across the MEA region as we want to be confident that the Acer brand is not only well distributed, but that the company engages distributors that have the capabilities to implement the new plans,” he explained.
He said in the history of Acer, the company has in the past two years managed the Middle East operations remotely from Europe and other adjacent regions.
According to Mortazavi, part of the changes will see the MEA region redefined by country clusters and sub-clusters in a way that mirrors Acer’s ability to cover them in terms of distribution. “Looking at Pakistan, Iraq and specifically in Saudi Arabia, there is a lot of work that has to be done. We will also address Levant and give special attention to Egypt, despite everything that is going on at the moment there,” he said. He added that Kuwait and Qatar will be addressed as a smaller cluster for Acer as the company has continued to see great potential in the two Gulf states.
A similar arrangement has been established on the African continent and Mortazavi pointed out that Acer has already started to look at the distribution landscape and will soon assign new distributors especially in East and West Africa. “I believe with the discovery of the gas fields in Tanzania and Mozambique, the governments there have no choice but to invest in infrastructure. We will also look at the Francophone countries in West Africa with a special focus on Nigeria. I want Acer to be a major contributor on the continent,” he said.