BenQ rekindles New Zealand presence

BenQ rekindles New Zealand presence

Taiwanese consumer technology vendor BenQ is returning to the local market, represented this time by distributors Morning Star and Datastor.

BenQ was first established in New Zealand in 2004, but bowed out of the country in 2006 having been through four distribution relationships.

Asia Pacific sales manager Mel Su says the vendor was forced to pull out of territories further from its headquarters, after poor results following BenQ’s buyout of Siemens’ mobile division in mid-2005.

“That was not a very successful merger. Within 11 months our financial status became very weak, so we gradually pulled back the investment in countries on the outskirts.”

However, he says the BenQ group has become more profitable and will invest more in New Zealand now. “We have extra funding to support New Zealand.”

Su hopes to hire local staff by the end of the year to work with its distributors.

It has enlisted Morning Star to distribute LCD monitors, with Datastor offering projectors, optical drives and digital cameras. There are plans to increase the product range this year. Morning Star will launch BenQ’s Joybook laptop at a partner event in May.

Victor Ho, Morning Star’s sales and marketing director, says his company won’t be focusing on a particular market segment. “The products are so broad there’s no single channel as such.”

Eric Yen will take on BenQ product management at Morning Star.

Datastor sales and marketing manager Dave Rosenberg says the products will “fill gaps in our business”, with BenQ projectors complementing its other display technology brands and digital cameras providing a second brand alongside Sony. He adds Datastor has been looking for an optical drive partnership for about two years.

“Ben-Q is obviously a strong brand and going with a value-added distributor like ourselves, and with our focus in the OEM space, it’s a good partnership.”

BenQ’s first distributor was Tech Pacific (now Ingram Micro) and Rick Jansen was appointed as country manager in early 2005, after managing Tech Pacific’s consumer division. However, the vendor had a difficult year with the local closure of its second distributor Westan, a relationship that only lasted four months, after it was signed in mid-2005. BenQ then signed Dove to replace Westan, however Jansen says it parted company with Dove in December 2006.

In February 2006 Jansen told Reseller News BenQ was cutting back local staff numbers and marketing spend, and by April 2006 he had left to form Better Quality Distribution (BQD) with two ex-Ingram Micro staff members. BQD then took on the BenQ range. However, BQD’s relationship with BenQ also ceased in 2006, Jansen says.

He began contracting as Dove’s Auckland manager in mid-2007, while remaining as general manager at BQD.

Australian-based distributor Altech Computers, which recently established an office here, had also planned to represent BenQ as it does across the Tasman. However special projects manager Kevin Hartin says it had a “last minute change”.

“The [BenQ] region manager in Australia had given us the go-ahead, but Taiwan had signed an agreement with Morning Star so it’s out for us at the moment,” says Hartin.

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