In the driving seat

Denny Liang, general manager at networking solutions vendor TP-Link Middle East, talks about the company’s channel initiatives and how he is driving business development programmes across the region.

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In the driving seat Liang says TP-Link want to improve the overall partner experience with the company.
By  Manda Banda Published  November 20, 2013

Denny Liang, general manager at networking solutions vendor TP-Link Middle East, talks about the company’s channel initiatives and how he is driving business development programmes across the region.

What is TP-Link’s channel strategy for the Middle East region?

DL: Our channel strategy has revolved around providing better service to the market and ensuring that the company has the best distributors and partners in different countries across the region. We have also ensured that even though channel partners buy from distributors, there is need for them to have a strong relationship with TP-Link. This, we believe, has helped us to gain a better understanding of the market and respond appropriately to any needs that may arise. In the channel space, we have appointed top wholesalers as our partners in the power retailer segment and have continued to cooperate with most retailers including the likes of Sharaf DG, Emax and LuLu. With a solid channel focus, TP-Link offers end-users exceptional service.

What is your vision for the Middle East networking and wireless solutions market and how do you cover this massive geography?

DL: It is every vendor’s dream to be number one in any market and the Middle East region is no different. Our vision is to be among the top recognised brands in the networking arena and with good products, competitive pricing and a strong channel partner network across the region, we are confident of achieving this.

What has been TP-Link’s focus for 2013 with your channel partners (distributors & resellers) in the Middle East region?

DL: This year is an important year for the company and our channel partners as we have been focusing on creating awareness around the TP-Link brand, to make it one of the most recognised brands in the networking segment in the region. With the high quality products and support we are getting from the channel ecosystem, TP-Link is now in a stronger position to promote its solutions in the Middle East market. The Middle East market has a lot of potential and that is why it remains a region that is attracting a lot of vendors to come and set-up shop here. With more than 38% of the global WLAN market share, TP-Link would like to grow its share in the Middle East as well. With 4G gaining popularity in the region, we have launched the 3G/4G routers and these will go a long way in creating additional margin opportunities for our channel partners.

How many distribution partners do you have in the Middle East region and which products and solutions do they take to market?

DL: Currently, we have 30 active distributors in the Middle East region. Our distributors have access to afull range of TP-Link products, which include wireless routers, adapters, range extenders, hybrid wireless solutions, ADSL modems, routers, switches, IP cameras, powerline adapters, print servers and media converters.

How have you segmented your channel business across the Middle East region?

DL: We have divided our business according to the vertical segments that our products serve and these include the tradition channel base, power retail, SMB and ISP market. We have a mix of distributors for different market segments and countries across the region. In addition, we are running channel partner programmes in the region and our partners are benefiting from the various rebates and incentive schemes that these initiatives offer.

How challenging has the Middle East networking market been for TP-Link in the last three years?

DL: It’s safe to say that every time a challenge arises, there is an opportunity that will open up. There is no doubt in my mind that the Middle East has great potential. With the TP-Link brand on the up, the competition is getting stiffer and I know in the past we didn’t have enough expertise to serve our channel partners efficiently and timely. However, with the comprehensive product offerings, support from our partners and the pioneering efforts of the regional team, we have managed to turn things around and have created a brand image and profile that fits with the company’s philosophy. Our aim is to become one of the most popular brands in the networking space.

How is grey marketing affecting TP-Link’s business and how are you addressing this with your channel in the Middle East?

DL: Grey imports are a headache and no one vendor involved in the IT hardware business can curb it completely. However, we are trying our best to work with local partners through various sensitisation campaigns which we are driving in partnership with our distributors. We also use serial number tracking to distinguish products bought from authorised channels and those brought through grey. A key issue with grey is being transparent with partners, having a uniform price structure and making sure products get launched almost at the same time in all the market where TP-Link is present in.

What is your perception of the networking market in the Middle East at the moment?

DL: The Middle East is one of the fastest growing networking markets worldwide. Development of the internet, geographical advantages and the purchasing power, all add to the impetus to push the networking segment further. I have every confidence that this will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, creating more opportinities for partners.

Who do you consider as your biggest competitor in the Middle East region when you speak to your channel partners?

DL: I do believe that every networking brand is a competitor to us. However, we are a force to be reckoned as we bring new technologies and products to partners and their end-user clients in a timely manner. What makes TP-Link different from other brands is that we are an original equipment manufacturing company and are able to better control the quality and cost of our products. This has helped us to continue offering the market with the most reliable products.

Where do you expect the maximum growth in 2013?

DL: Majority of our growth will come from the wireless and ADSL, our traditional strong product lines. We also expect more growth on powerline and switches as there is new technology developed by TP-Link that combines the flexibility of Wi-Fi with the speed and stability of powerline connections in an intelligent solution called hybrid Wi-Fi.

What can your Middle East channel partners expect from TP-Link in the 2014 and beyond?

DL: Our aim for next year is to gain success with our partners with the traditional strong product lines. The company will also be bringing to market more new products and this, we believe will help us to expand and tap into new markets.

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