Acer chief tweaks approach

Acer chief tweaks approach

Having reversed his company's falling market share in the last few months, new Acer chief Jason Chen is looking for more tweaks to grow the Taiwan PC giant's business.

In an interview with Digital Life, he revealed that Singapore and Hong Kong are now joined as a single market unit.

Vietnam and Thailand have also been similarly joined, he said. The two groups now come under an expanded Asia-Pacific business entity. Dubbed Pan Asia Pacific, it combines Acer's previous Asia-Pacific and Greater China operations.

Mr Chen explained that he made the changes for more synergies between certain markets.

Singapore and Hong Kong have very similar market demographics. Furthermore, both are mature markets and many consumers in these two locations have the appetite for similar premium products, he noted.

Acer Singapore managing director Nea Pin Gek will head the new combined Singapore-Hong Kong entity. Singapore consumers should still see the same range of Acer products here. Mr Chen said: "We will still offer the full range of products, from entry-level to premium."

Formerly from semiconductor firm TSMC, Mr Chen took over the reins of Acer in January. The company's share of the global PC market has been steadily falling since the second quarter of 2012, when the number stood at 11.4 per cent. It was 7.3 per cent for the first quarter this year.

Under Mr Chen's watch, the trend reversed almost immediately - growing to 7.9 and 8.6 per cent in Q2 and Q3 this year, respectively. The market share numbers are from research firm Gartner.

But while the improving numbers are good, Mr Chen said he does not plan to set hard targets for market share.

Instead, he wants to inculcate a work culture where people are making efforts to innovate every day, staff are not penalised for errors but, instead, encouraged to be creative.

He called this a "risk-taking" culture where people are willing to try new things.

He is banking on it to make a difference, because product innovation will be a key prong for Acer's growth as it diversifies from its traditional PC business to tablets, smartphones, services and new products.

Mr Chen showed Digital Life a prototype of an all-in-one PC to make his point. This device, which looks as compact as a small desktop speaker, also doubles as a speaker, router and has three hard disk drives which can be set up in Raid 5 for redundancy.

Besides innovation, another factor for growth is to build Acer into a highly trusted brand, he said.

The company is already well liked by its customers for its good after-sales service, he added. So, Mr Chen wants to move beyond that. His vision is to create a company that people will like and which offers a plethora of gadgets that its customers would enjoy spending time with.

This article was first published on Dec 10, 2014.
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