Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Acer chief urges marriage of IT and electronics sectors

LOOKING AHEAD Acer CEO Stan Shih said the trend was for computer and home entertainment devices to work together, as manufacturers should

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's computer and electronics industries should work hand-in-hand as digital home entertainment increasingly integrates both sectors, Stan Shih (施振榮), chairman and CEO of Acer Group, said yesterday.

"For a long time, many have been arguing about whether digital home entertainment should be PC-centric or TV-oriented," Shih said. "From my point of view, it takes both to complete the concept."

Shih made the remark at the opening ceremony of Computex Taipei 2004 yesterday morning. The trade show brings together global IT procurement professionals and the nation's high-tech manufacturers, who churned out US$69.12 billion worth of hardware and software last year, up 17.9 percent from the previous year.

While Shih is better known as founder of Acer group, now the world's No. 3 PC maker, few know that the name of the trade show "Computex Taipei" was coined by him when he was chairman of the Taipei Computer Association (台北市電腦公會) in 1984.

The information technology veteran said that local consumer electronics manufacturers and PC companies have the potential to capitalize on the latest trends in digital home entertainment, as they control key components and technologies.

"But current audio-visual equipment needs to be digitalized and connected to a media or network management center, and the PC needs to be user friendly and dependable," he said.

Therefore, he suggested both sectors incorporate their technology, resources and distribution channels to create consistency and meet the growing demand for audio and visual entertainment from customers, adding that in developing the digital home entertainment business, what customers need should be the key point, rather than the technology.

"What consumers care about is their whole experience with the facility, not individual performance of the machines," Shih said. "This is also a direction that Acer has been gearing toward over the past few years."

However, Wang Jen-tang (王振堂), president of Acer and Shih's designated heir, said it would take five to 10 years for the world's digital home entertainment industry to mature. Shih is expected to retire from his post by the end of the year.

Rock Hsu (許勝雄), chairman of Kinpo Electronics Inc (金寶集團) and Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), agreed that IT manufacturers and home electronics makers should work together, since integrating home electronics and IT products is a trend.

But Hsu said he saw only IT companies making inroads into the electronics sector, with no sign of consumer electronics makers branching into the IT sector in the production of home entertainment products.

Kanty Wu (吳錦芳), deputy spokesman of major consumer electronics maker Sampo Corp (聲寶), also said he would like to see collaboration between IT and home electronics industries, but that little could be achieved without substantial digital content.

"After all, content is the key in driving the industry," Wu said.

Besides forecasting that the nation's original equipment manufacturers will turn Taiwan into the world's IT and electronics products supply center, Shih encouraged them to develop their own innovative products and brands and use China as a springboard to market to the world.

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