Ace(r)s High in PC Poker!

Sunday, January 08, 2005

By Ian Bandy

Taiwanese laptop builder Acer are all set to take over the world. Like any sensible country they are starting with the good old United States of America, which is widely considered the world’s largest and most competitive PC market.

The trouble is that very few Taiwanese technology companies seem to make it over in the states despite having a strong following back home. They seem to build cheap, dependable, machines that perhaps lack the flair to engage the consumers’ imagination.

However Acer who are number five on the PC maker scene want to be number three by 2008. Good luck to them I say there is nothing like a little competition! They clearly have a difficult challenge ahead of them as American brands such as Dell, HP, and IBM currently dominate the U.S market.

To vie for American consumers’ attention, Acer plans to replicate the strategy that has led to their success in other markets. They will sell laptops through distributors and retailers rather than offering direct sales to the customer. This technique has been very successful throughout much of the world. Indeed the company reported revenue of nearly $5 billion in 2003, and the January to november sales figures for 2004 have topped $6.39 billion. November’s single month revenue of $853 million marked a record high for the company.

An important aspect of Acer’s previous growth, and the likely key to its future success – is the impressive selection of mobile computers on offer. During May, 2004, Acer introduced two new notebooks: the Aspire 1800 and TravelMate 2428 As a result of in-depth global market research, Acer developed these two new notebooks to better meet customers’ needs. Each model is based on the portfolio concept, offering “pure functional simplicity, smooth curves, and subtle elegance.” The most unique feature of these new products is the eKey. With one press of a button, Acer’s eManager allows easy access to frequently used settings to improve productivity and security, as well as maximize battery life. This innovative feature may be one reason the Travelmate 3200 won PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award in November, 2004.

Acer currently reigns as the No. 1 seller of notebook computers in western Europe. But the company’s ambition does not end with Europe; they want a piece of the U.S. market. Gaining ground in the U.S. will require persistence, patience, and a unique marketing strategy to highlight Acer’s new global image. The company will use a clear and simple approach, rather than a costly “American-style” campaign. The plan is to initially use the channel only strategy in the U.S, working with distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data, then eventually sell to the individual consumer through retailers. Acer’s goal is to reach 25-30 percent of U.S. revenue in 2006 and to grow from the fifth to third largest PC maker worldwide.

Only time will tell whether Acer declare Aces high or a lowly pair of twos at the global notebook poker table.

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