Thu, Sep 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Young workers a growth market

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Recent graduates entering the job market don't earn as much as their older collegues, but they are more willing to buy high-tech items

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Companies are targeting young people entering the job market because they are major consumers of information-technology (IT) products, a poll said yesterday.

The poll was released by Xander International Corp (建達國際), a major distributor of computer and peripheral products, which commissioned the online job bank www.9999.com.tw (汎亞人力銀行) to survey white-collar workers born af-ter 1980 on their purchases of IT products.

Notebook computers, pen drives and desktop computers were the top three products needed by young employees in their work.

Other hot IT accessories are MP3 players, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), digital cameras and personal digital assistants.

Nearly 70 percent of young white-collar employees spend less than NT$50,000 a year on IT products, while 6.67 percent of those polled said they budget NT$50,000 to NT$100,000 for such items, the survey said, while 1 percent spend more than NT$200,000.

"Even though the average salary of this generation is only NT$30,000 per month, they tend to have higher acceptance of high-tech products than the older generations, and thus are willing to spend more," Nate Lin (林鴻禧), president of Xander International's product management group, said at a press conference yesterday.

The poll also showed that 48.47 percent of the respondents prefer to buy via online shopping sites, while 44.17 percent like to get their products from electronics retail chains.

Because after-sale service has become a key factor in purchase decisions, 72.89 percent of the respondents attach importance to the role distributors play.

While distributors like Xander International see good business in the local market, they find it extremely difficult to make money using the same business model in the Chinese market, Lin said.

The Chinese authorities' control over distribution rights has seriously limited business, Lin said.

While Beijing is scheduled to open distribution rights to foreign companies on Dec. 11, Lin doesn't see much room to grow because many Taiwanese manufacturers distribute their own products to save costs and remain competitive with their Chinese rivals, he said.

Taiwanese electronics chain stores and manufacturers face the same problem, Lin said.

Due to differences in shopping behavior, even the Tsann Kuen Group (燦坤實業) -- the nation's largest electronics chain store with 147 outlets -- has reported considerable losses and decided to close about 10 outlets in China, Wang said.

The company only entered China in the middle of last year.

Rapidly growing Chinese computer makers such as the Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and Founder Holdings Ltd (方正) have also slashed the margins of Taiwanese brands, he said.

"Taiwanese companies should modify their strategies and their niche, or they may soon be forced out of the Chinese market," Lin said.

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