TP-LINK takes aim at KSA market
Vendor moves to strengthen its SOHO channel business in the Saudi Arabia
Conrad Yang, country manager, KSA TP-LINK Middle East, talks about the company's plans for the KSA SOHO networking business and how the company is engaging channel partners to develop the business in the Kingdom.
The KSA is by far the largest IT market in the Middle East. How is TP-LINK developing its SOHO networking business in Saudi?
Conrad Yang: TP-LINK is a global provider of SOHO and SMB networking products and the world's number one provider of WLAN products. For the Saudi Arabia market, we need to put more focus and develop our business to get a larger share in the market. Recently, we have signed Redington Gulf as our distributor for the retail and SOHO networking business. We believe this partnership will help us to cement our position in the market and develop our business further.
What is the state of the KSA networking market at the moment?
The networking landscape in the Saudi Arabia is in good health. Our confidence stems from the wide range of products and services the company is offering in that country. The Saudi market is a growth driver for the entire GCC and has strong and extensive links in trade and commerce. I believe that our channel partners are already benefiting from this resulting in the Saudi market being open and competitive. Consequently, average sales service and customer support are important factors in winning and maintaining new clients. We are certainly pushing this and I do sincerely believe that our channel partners can look forward to more growth the year ahead.
Where is TP-LINK focusing most of its efforts in KSA given that it recently entered the Middle East market?
Indeed we haven't been in the country for long but our focus has been mainly concentrated in the central and western region. We have solid presence in Riyadh and via the distribution channel through retailers and resellers. Recently, TP-LINK also entered the power retailer and SMB sector with compelling product offerings. With these schemes, the company is making sure that all partner segments are well addressed and the momentum we have in Saudi Arabia will ensure we continue to grow our market share and increase brand awareness.
Does TP-LINK have a legal entity in KSA?
Currently we don't have a legal entity yet, but the company has started the process of establishing an in-country office in KSA. It is already under process and very soon we will have separate legal entity as TP-Link Saudi Arabia to serve and provide pre- and post-sales support for our channel ecosystem.
How has TP-LINK managed to grow its business in KSA given the pace of change and the challenges the broader region is experiencing?
From the time we entered the broader Middle East market in 2011, we were able to grow our brand offerings and business because we strategically focused on markets that needed our products. We have managed to start recently with mobile and communications, and this business has been well received in KSA. In addition to our networking and wireless LAN products, our accessory range including power banks and cloud camera have also been well received in the market.
How are you changing the perception that your company is too hardware-focused?
The shift to software has gained momentum because of the impact of the cloud computing model and how some services are being offered via this model. That said, it doesn't mean that the need for networking hardware will go away on the contrary it won't. TP-LINK is product of its hardware legacy and as the market evolves further, the company will also increase its share of software and what software as part of its solutions offerings. There are very good prospects for channel partners that want to resell their products in the Saudi Arabian market be it hardware, software, services or all of these. However, there are certain marketing initiatives and sales techniques that have to be observed in order to develop and sustain business relationships over a long period of time. This is what TP-LINK is doing and we do believe that we will get more market share as our schemes with partners begin to bear fruit.
What has been TP-LINK's main message to partners in the Middle East in 2015?
Using our knowledge of the market and knowing what our competitors are doing, the company has been able to identify and develop its unique selling propositions and differentiators working hand-in-hand with partners. Currently we are present in all market segment across the region and have consulted extensively with mid and senior level management of all our partners on business trends in the country with a view to developing new services, products, and distribution channels.
How have you motivated your partners to visualise the networking industry in KSA heading into 2016 and beyond?
As the new year is upon us, we have been meet potential clients through face-to-face meetings, growing, maintaining and leveraging the power of our channel network. We have taken this further by ramping up our meetings between key decision makers with our channel partners to ensure a robust pipeline of opportunities.
One thing that consistently comes out from channel partners in KSA is that they are overwhelmed by the level of opportunity, from many ambitious projects being implemented in the Kingdom like smart cities. How do you want them to prioritise these opportunities?
TP-LINK's entry into the Middle East market has been phenomenal. When we entered the market we said we needed to develop our home and SOHO business first. When the business model took shape, we ramped this up and now we are aggressively pushing in the SMB and mid-market sector. With the many projects being rolled our not just in KSA but the wider Middle East, the natural progression for us will be to serve the networking enterprise and corporate sector.
We are ready to be part of these big projects being undertaken in the enterprise segment through our distributor, VARs and systems integrators.
What does TP-LINK want partners to go after especially in KSA given the opportunity your partners are experiencing with your products in that country?
TP-Link has well organised plans and promotions for all partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, the company is in the process of finalising an incentive scheme with more trips for partners that commit to TP-LINK and grow the business. In addition, we will also launch new rebate programmes for partners.
A recent IDC report indicated that the KSA networking market will experience phenomenal growth in the next couple of years. How are you preparing partners to ensure that they share in on the growth and take their businesses to new heights in the networking segment?
TP-LINK has managed to launch its Partner Program that offers all channel partners tools and resources to prosper in a highly competitive environment. In addition, the company has enhance its online support through a dedicated partner portal that helps track on a quarterly basis how partners are performing. All this is being handled through our professional team.
What channel programme is your company planning to roll out in 2016 in Saudi Arabia?
TP-LINK is lining up several partner initiatives and programmes, which will be rolled out in 2016. Some of the initiatives are already running on a quarterly basis in Saudi Arabia and they are not new. What we will do in 2016 is to increase the rebate partner programmes around certain seasonal events like Dubai Shopping Festival, GITEX Shopper spring edition and Dubai summer promotions.