Thu, Dec 02, 2004 - Page 10 News List

`TransAsia is not disappearing from the Earth': Chang

BRAND STRATEGY Kaohsiung-based mobile phone service provider TransAsia has been keeping very quiet, prompting customers to wonder if it still existed

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

TransAsia Telecommunications Inc's (泛亞電信) users may have been puzzled as to whether the Kaohsiung-based cellphone service provider is phasing itself out of the market, with the company having maintained a muted public profile over the past three months.

TransAsia has not aired a single TV commercial for new discount rates or premium handsets for three months, while its competitors and even its parent company -- Taiwan Cellular Corp (台灣大) -- have been plastering the airwaves with advertisements about new preferential packages.

Taiwan Cellular, which has been trying to format a proper brand strategy after acquiring TransAsia in 2001, yesterday gave an answer to that question.

STILL AROUND

"TransAsia is not disappearing from the Earth," said Harvey Chang (張孝威), president of Taiwan Cellular, the nation's No. 3 cellphone carrier by revenue, at a press conference to launch a new TV commercial exclusively for TransAsia.

Chang said TransAsia has secured strong brand reorganization from its 1.6 million subscribers in the south and made significant progress in boosting average revenue per user in the past year.

Last month, TransAsia's average revenue per user increased by nearly 30 percent to NT$529 from NT$411 a year ago.

With sales rising to NT$9.42 billion (US$292.3 million) in the first 10 months, TransAsia made up a one-fifth share of Taiwan Cellular's total sales of NT$45.51 billion during the same period.

BRAND POSITIONING

"Every brand has its reason to be on the market, but Taiwan Cellu-lar is seeking to incorporate those brands into one in the long run," Chang said.

Jim Wilson, chief business officer of Taiwan Cellular, admitted that the idea of killing the Trans-Asia brand had indeed been one of their options in internal discussions during the past months.

"Now, our brand strategy is quite clear. We are not in a big hurry to incorporate TransAsia into Taiwan Cellular. We don't want our users to have an emotional response," Wilson said.

"Only when consumers find no significant difference among those brands will TransAsia die out," he said.

ANALYST AGREES

Daniel Hsiao (蕭黎明), an analyst with Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), a local arm of Standard & Poor's, said Taiwan Cellular's move was no surprise.

"I'll hold a neutral view about its decision to run more than one brand as the strategy," he said.

"But, I agree with the company's long-term goal of combining those brands into one. That will save costs and improve efficiency," he said.

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