JAPANESE IT giant Fujitsu has returned to the New Zealand PC market with its Lifebook range of portables.
Officially the company’s local distributor, Penrose-based PB Technologies began handling the brand on June 9. However, stock arrived early and machines have been available in the country since late May.
The vendor side of the business is being managed out of Fujitsu PC’s Australasian subsidiary which is located in Sydney.
Adrian Mead, Fujitsu PC’s manager of Australasia operations, says there has been a high level of interest in the products. “When we opened for business in 2001 in Australia, we had many product requests from New Zealand, but we couldn’t fulfil them.”
Unlike most other notebook vendors, Fujitsu will not be contesting the entry-level end of the market. Nor is the company focusing on the large-sized desktop replacement models.
“Our products are high quality. We specialise in thin and light, 75% of our models weigh less than 2kg. Our batteries last a long time — in cases up to seven hours. We’ve noticed this is a gap in the New Zealand market now that people are more mobile,” Mead says.
Initially Fujistu PC will focus on two key segments. It will target the corporate sector in conjunction with Fujitsu New Zealand. Mead says they will talk to banks and similar organisations and attempt to tie Lifebook sales to services.
“Fujitsu New Zealand has already spoken to its existing customers. The response so far has been huge. In fact there’s more demand for evaluation hardware than we can meet,” he says. Although Fujitsu PC plans to shy away from the mass merchants, it will also target private schools. Many educational institutes require students to own and use a laptop, but many, especially younger students, struggle to lug portable computers from home to classroom and back. Mead says his company’s thin and light approach makes it a natural choice for schools. In the last three years Fujitsu PC has sold more than 9,000 units to Australian private schools.
Mead says that although Fujitsu accounts for around 10% of the notebook computer market in South-East Asia, he isn’t aiming for such a large slice of New Zealand business. “We only have a one or two percent share in Australia. Our goal is not to be number one, but to be profitable.”