MSI not afraid of long PC market battle

MSI not afraid of long PC market battle

MSI says it is prepared to compete over the long term to gain local market share, after signing its first distribution agreement with Ingram Micro.

The components and PC maker admits it has made a late entry into a crowded space here, but says it will focus on key notebook products to build the company’s local presence.

“We are late, but it is better than never and now in PCs we have to catch up,” says MSI’s Australian-based managing director Jerry Hsu. “It’s a long-term strategy and we’re not afraid to compete.”

Netbooks, ultra-slim notebooks and all-in-one PCs are important product lines, he says, adding the company believes the trend toward ultra-slims similar to the MacBook Air will continue for the next two years.

Hsu wouldn’t say what percentage of local market share MSI hopes to achieve, but says globally the company wants to reach the top 10 by 2010 and be the sixth-ranked notebook vendor by 2012. Hsu says it currently ranks about number nine in Australia.

IDC analyst Stefan Nordbruch says focusing on particular PC segments, particularly the all-in-one desktop market is a sensible approach as the brand is less well known here.

“In the all-in-one category it’s quite interesting at the moment as it is one of the more innovative fields in desktops. It’s a good area to start in.” Others promoting these locally are Benq, Acer and Dell.

Among MSI’s initial PC product releases here are the Wind Top touchscreen all-in-one, the Neton all-in-one, the X320 ultra-slim and the Wind U100 Plus netbook.

Nordbruch says the X320 will compete more with other netbooks because it runs on Intel’s Atom processor, rather than with other ultra-slims that offer greater performance specifications.

He adds it will be important for MSI to entrench a strong retail presence for its netbooks, and to use established education channels.

Prior to the local appointment of Ingram Micro, some resellers here were importing MSI products directly, Hsu says.

Ingram Micro volume business manager Desmond Ling says the distributor will gain initial traction among resellers from MSI’s core components business.

“There’s a big DIY market out there for the gaming motherboards and graphics cards. It adds to our one stop shop for resellers,” Ling says.

He acknowledges the notebook PC space is competitive here, but believes MSI has “come up with some unique plays”.

“There are niche opportunities around the netbooks and ultra-slims.” Ingram Micro also distributes MSI in Australia and Europe.

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