BENQ has partnered with the newest distributor in town, Westan.
Until this month, Benq had a monogamous relationship with Ingram Micro, but country manager Rick Jansen says he had his reasons for signing with Westan.
“Ingram Micro has a phenomenal customer reach but Westan has the focus on key areas I want to see Benq entering,” he says.
According to Jansen, Ingram Micro is comfortable with his business decision.
He describes the two distributors as being at opposite ends of the spectrum and therefore not in any danger of competing in the same markets.
“Westan’s business case was one of the few I’d seen that made good sense and tackled new areas.”
These include the lucrative corporate and education markets.
Jansen says that in the corporate space Ingram Micro is dominated by larger vendors.
“Basically I need someone who is going to get out there and wave our flag.”
Paul Dixon, Westan director, believes the features and value of Benq’s notebooks will surprise people.
“This range has the wow factor. I’m excited about the products because in the end it comes down to price and performance — and Benq has both,” he says.
Westan will handle all of Benq’s range, including LCD monitors, projectors and input devices, but will stay clear of consumer electronics.
Dixon says education dealers are key to Westan’s growth strategy as are small to medium-sized retailers and dealers.
Making a name to remember
THE biggest challenge facing electronics vendor Benq is a lack of brand recognition.
But country manager Rick Jansen is hoping to change that with some shrewd marketing campaigns.
Jansen says his company’s sponsorship and advertising deal with student radio station bFM is a long-term strategy.
“When the students of today enter the workforce, in a few years they’ll have a good interpretation of the Benq brand,” he says.
He is also talking to major retailers to use their advertising to promote the brand and has approval from Australia to hire a marketing person.
Benq Australia has been named the top brand in Australia and has scored a 10,000-unit deal with the defence department.
“That’s the sort of progress we want here,” says Jansen.
Along with a new line-up of MP3 players, Jansen is looking to bring in the company’s range of mobile phones later this year and is currently in discussions with Vodafone NZ.
“Hopefully these will launch in Q4 — we have the whole range from pre-pay to the latest smart phones.”
New distributor opens doors
WESTAN is now officially open for business, having spent the last six weeks installing computer networks and a state-of-the-art logistics system.
Paul Dixon says the system leaves very little room for error and allows the company to process orders quickly.
“The great thing about Westan is we’re starting off with this system and we’ll be thankful of that in a few years’ time. There’s nothing worse than trying to change systems mid-flow,” he says.
Westan is coming to market with a strong line-up of vendors including Benq, Westan Digital and Samsung. Dixon says that although New Zealand is a separate division it makes good sense to carry the same brands as the Australian operation.
The major areas for Westan are the corporate and education markets and Dixon is aiming to build revenue to over $20 million in the next two years.
Dixon, a channel veteran, says he’s thoroughly enjoying being back in the game.
“Westan has been very well received and I don’t think that’s just because of the brands it brings — it also gives resellers more choice.”
He says that while the plan is to approach a large number of resellers, they must fit Westan’s product set.
The strategy to build the market for Westan Digital disk drives is to create relationships with system integrators.