Flash card and USB drive maker Lexar Media plans to win a 30% share of the New Zealand market following a successful year in Australia.
The US-based company has expanded its presence in Asia-Pacific over the last year. Sales offices opened in Hong Kong and Sydney in the first half of the year and a distribution agreement with Digital China have opened up new markets.
General manager for Lexar South-East Asia Kar Yee Fransham says she is pleased with the success in Australia.
“We’ve done very well. The key to our success is being a two-tier supplier with a strong store-front presence. Lexar is a world leader in USB and flash drives,” she says.
Fransham says that Lexar broke into the Australian market at the right time, when there was a shortage of flash cards in the country. The company has since been going from strength to strength.
The Australian distributors of Lexar, TechPacific and WestGroup, put Lexar in an ideal position to meet the demands of professional and consumer audiences in the Australian market, she says.
Now is the time to increase Lexar’s presence in New Zealand, she adds, with distributors TA Macalister and Brightpoint onboard. Lexar is tying in rebate and trading terms to ensure secure partnerships.
“Lexar definitely want to dominate the NZ market. We’ve already cemented a few relationships and plan to expand the channel in 2005.”
TA Macalister continues to handle the photo and retail markets, while Lexar’s new distributor, Brightpoint, is targeting telecommunications.
“We have to spend the money in educating New Zealand consumers about Lexar products. At the moment they aren’t aware of the brand or the importance of the quality product we provide,” says Fransham.
Brightpoint wireless channel manager Vanessa Abbott predicts there will be massive growth in media cards in 2005 as they become common-place in cameras and high-end phones.
Lexar signed Brightpoint as a distributor in July. The company currently distributes to 350 telecommunications and retail outlets and Abbot has plans to grow that market.
“My job is to review opportunities to grow the traditional channel. Next year you’ll see retail, telecommunications and technology begin to merge into one,” she says.
Fransham shares the same view.
“USB drives will soon replace DVDs and there are several technologies driving the market. Smart phones will really take off next year and Lexar will be at the forefront of that technology.”
A dual-brand agreement signed with Kodak in May this year gives Lexar the licence to manufacture and distribute Kodak digital media.
“We can cover the whole market — from amateurs to professionals. Consumers recognise the Kodak brand and associate it with premium products.”
Internationally, Lexar’s main competitor is SanDisk, another flash card and USB drive manufacturer. Fransham says, though, that New Zealand is a difficult market to break into due to the amount of parallel importing.
“Parallel importing is a really tricky one to get around. Retailers will make deals that we can’t hope to compete with. That’s another area where we have to educate consumers to look for quality of product rather than the cheapest price.”