President, BenQ Asia Pacific Corp.
This month, Max-IT met with Mr. Adrian Chang, President of BenQ Asia Pacific Corporation while he was here in Kuala Lumpur.
Based in Taipei, Adrian Chang is responsible for overseeing BenQ’s regional marketing and sales operations in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. In 2004, under Chang’s leadership, BenQ Asia Pacific Corp.’s revenue saw a 70% increase from 2003 and a 149% increase year-on-year for the first half of 2004. BenQ subsidiaries include Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, UAE, and Turkey.
Chang joined Acer Inc. in 1991, assuming the responsibility for the customer service division. In 1992, he became regional sales manager for the Middle East, in charge of marketing and sales in Turkey, Israel and North Africa, and earned “Best Employee of the Acer Group.” During 1996-1997, based in Auckland, New Zealand, Chang assumed the position of Head of Business Development & Logistics.
In November 1997, Chang was promoted to the position of general manager of Acer Middle East, where his business responsibilities quickly expanded to 54 countries. In March 2000, Chang took the position of deputy managing director of BenQ China. While in China, Chang supervised the establishment of 7 regional centers and 18 branch offices including Hong Kong, and increased revenues of 400%. In May 2003, Chang assumed the position of President of BenQ Asia Pacific Corp.
MAX-IT: How's BenQ doing in Asia Pacific?
ADRIAN: For 2007 to date, we are doing quite well. We have achieved 110% of our sales targets and are seeing significant growth in certain areas.
MAX-IT: What are the highlights in BenQs performance?
ADRIAN: For our projector products, we have been reported to be the number 2 brand in Asia Pacific, which includes Japan and Korea. Our market share in the region is 11% and we are No. 1 in countries like Korea, Australia and Indonesia.
The LCD market is also growing very fast in the region, with Malaysia being one of the early adopters of widescreen LCD technology. In fact, our LCD business has doubled since we started only two years ago.
MAX-IT: What are BenQ's plans for the immediate future?
ADRIAN: Now we will also focus on two other product lines, the first being digital cameras. We have launched our digital cameras in selected countries, and everywhere we've done so, the results are satisfactory. The other product is our Joybook line of notebooks. We will be pushing these lines as our focus.
MAX-IT: What happened to BenQ's optical storage products?
ADRIAN: BenQ's optical drives are still there, although it may no longer be our focus product. We sold off the manufacturing unit to another Taiwanese company, but retain the design capability.
Our direction has changed with the times to meet the market demands. Currently, LCD constitutes about 40% of the business while projectors make about 20%. Compare this to the CRTs and accessories that BenQ started with many years ago.
MAXIT: Tell us a bit more about the LCD market.
ADRIAN: The LCD market is very interesting particularly in this region. We've seen a very high adoption rate from CRT to LCD here, but we are now seeing the conversion from square format to wide format displays as well. The conversion rate here is much higher than any other region in the world. For 19-inch wide displays, we are currently No. 1.
MAXIT: Locally, which product lines face the most challenges in penetrating the market?
ADRIAN: Of course, all lines have their own challenges. But if I were to single one out, digital cameras face some unique challenges. The top 6 brands are from Japan. In order to compete in the market, we need to differentiate ourselves in the channel marketing. The top players have been in the business for many years, so that may represent a challenge for us to catch up and differentiate ourselves.
MAXIT: How would you differentiate yourselves then?
ADRIAN: Other than offering the latest technology and innovations, we also want to put some personality into our brand. This can be in terms of design and branding of products that portray a certain lifestyle or personality.
MAXIT: We understand that Benq is undergoing some corporate restructuring. Can you tell us what is happening?
ADRIAN: As I mentioned earlier, some of our manufacturing capability is being sold off while we concentrate on our focus products.BenQ shall remain as a branded business which maintains its own design and patents ownership; while the manufacturing and operations arm, named QISDA will focus on the fabrication and manufacturing business.The spin-off plan separates its branded and manufacturing business. BenQ, a branded company after the separation, will continue to sell and market products under the BenQ brand name.
BenQ will remain headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. The company has a paid-in capital of NT$3.62 billion with revenue expected to exceed NT$100 billion in 2009. At the initial stage, BenQ will be 100% owned by Qisda Corporation. Qisda will gradually reduce its shareholdings in BenQ while BenQ explores options for strategic partners and investors.
Visit BenQ at http://www.benq.com