Computers & Laptops

‘Acer bets big on convertible notebooks’

Bindu D Menon | Updated on January 23, 2018

Oliver Ahrens, Sr Corporate VP & President, Pan Asia-Pacific Business Operations, Acer Inc

Acer Senior Corporate V-P sees big opportunity for retail, e-commerce sales in India

After switching to hardware-software-services model, Taiwanese IT major Acer Inc says a great deal of its business is expected to be generated from the Asia-Pacific region. The fourth largest IT player ( according to the IDC report), which sells PCs, servers, storage products, smartphones and tablets, has been facing rough wind in India due to poor sales and competition from peers. Acer also competes with its global rivals for a share of the PC market in India,

Last week, the company unveiled about 40 products, including tablets, laptops, fitness and fashion wearable bands, hard-core gaming machines and even projectors, at an event in New York. Acer says it is on a transformation drive following re-alignment of the products being offered in the near future. In an exclusive interview to BusinessLine, Oliver Ahrens, Senior Corporate Vice-President and President Pan Asia-Pacific Business Operations, Acer Inc, said that India offers huge potentials due to the low IT penetration of 10 per cent compared to the demographics. Excerpts:

Where does India in particular and the Asia-Pacific figure in Acer’s scheme of things?

The growth in the Asian and Indian markets has been slow. The strong rupee and rising oil prices are some of the reasons for slow growth. But things are cooling and we expect strong performance in the next couple of quarters. Everybody expects ‘digital India’ to grow and create demand for IT products especially from government-led projects.

Your China, Taiwan and APAC businesses have been regrouped into one unit. What was the reason behind this move?

The market is moving sideways. There is lot of synergy now. China and India are both big markets and the initiative will help us strategise better for the two markets.

Acer is on a transformation drive following re-alignment of the products being offered in the near future. What product do you think will be a hero product?

The world is moving on from one display to a multi-display unit. What it means for a company like ours is the range of products we offer, including two-in-one-laptops, desktops, smartphones, wearables and even projectors. The idea is to be present in all areas of consumer interest. As far as hero-product, we are betting big on the two-in-one or convertible notebooks for functionality and user interface.

Will most of your products run on Windows platform?

Windows has a good adoption rate and most of our products will run on Windows 10. Our smartphone devices will be Linux-based. We also have some products on the Android platform.

There is a worry that the overall market is shrinking because of smartphone penetration?

The market is flat but that doesn’t mean that desktops and laptops will be wiped off from the face of the earth. They are here to stay. A chunk of the desktop markets is skewed towards commercial side but the personal use is also on the rise. Our aim is to be a consumer mass market brand.

Retail plays a big role. How geared up are you with your retail plans?

We understand the importance of retail and hence are looking to scale up our flagship stores in India. Also, e-commerce is another big area of opportunity for us and we are going aggressive on it. In spite of the price under-cutting that is prevalent in the Indian ecommerce space, we believe it has a huge potential to grow. We are also looking to establish a dedicated sales force to look into the needs of the e-commerce market.

Wearable seems to be the rage globally with players like Apple also getting bitten by it. What do you think of the product?

It is a lifestyle product and is the right product for the current generation. We have also introduced a range of products to keep up with the demands of the consumers.

What’s your marketing spend for bringing Acer closer to the Indian consumer and enterprises alike?

We spend about one to two per cent of our turnover on ball park basis.

(The writer was in New York at the invitation of Acer)

Published on May 03, 2015

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