Acer to step back into Harvey Norman

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Acer to step back into Harvey Norman
Acer Computer Australia will have its PC and notebooks on the shelves of big retailer Harvey Norman by November, according to local boss Charles Chung.

Retail is the fastest growing segment for the number 3-ranked PC and laptop supplier in Australia, currently representing between 30 and 35 percent of Acer’s total sales revenue here. Chung expected that number to grow to 50 percent.

Acer was also in discussions with the likes of The Good Guys and Myers to stock its products, he said.

Acer has been fairly price aggressive in the retail channel since mid-2005 when it launched selected sub-$1000 notebooks through retailers Officeworks and Big W.

Officeworks is Acer’s biggest retail channel partner today, however the company had decided that discount store Big W was “not the right channel” for the brand, Chung said.

Acer had previously “not been able to continue the business” with Harvey Norman, despite having a fruitful relationship with the retailer in New Zealand.

Chung said Acer was about the “restart a business relationship” with Australia’s top retailer, which generates around $1 billion in total computer sales annually.

“Moving forward we want to get into the convergence area [and] the top channel is still Harvey Norman,” he said.

Meanwhile, Acer’s Asia-Pacific operation – which includes Japan, ASEAN, Oceania and India – was experiencing an average year-on year growth rate of 40 percent, said Steve Lin, president, Asia Pacific Region at Acer.

Globally, Acer reported sales revenue of US$9.7 billion of which around 15 percent was being generated from sales in the Asia-Pacific region, more than China, which contributes 6 percent, he said.

Australian sales had been flat, with the company expecting to report unit shipment growth of between 15 and 20 percent for the calendar year and revenue growth of between 5 and 10 percent, Chung said.

He believes this was indicative of a slow Australian PC market.

Acer may “need to revisit” its target to become the number 1 PC supplier in all market segments in Australia by next year. “Buying market share is not what we want, we need to be profitable. We need to make sure that a solid growth foundation is there,” he said.

Acer this week held its 30th birthday celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan.

Addressing an audience of channel partners on Wednesday morning, company chairman J.T. Wang told reaffirmed that Acer would remain a 100 percent channel-driven organisation.

He said that direct PC players, which were strong in 2001, are now in “crisis” as the channel business model begins to show its superiority. “Our business direction over the past few years has clearly been correct,” he said.

Byron Connolly traveled to Taipei as a guest of Acer Computer.

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