Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Sampo, FIC partner up to tap into European market

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sampo Corp (聲寶), the nation's leading manufacturer of home appliances, announced a strategic partnership with First International Computer Co (FIC, 大眾電腦) yesterday, in a bid to cement a stronger foothold in European markets.

"The partnership of a home-appliance maker and IT company will create a win-win situation for both. This will enable Sampo to further tap into the European markets," Sampo's chairman Eric Chen (陳盛泉) told a press conference yesterday.

Sampo will outsource the production of its 35-inch to 47-inch liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TVs, as well as 42-inch and 50-inch plasma TVs, to FIC's plants in the Czech Republic, he added.

As companies need to pay a 14 percent levy when importing TVs to Europe, the average production cost will be reduced by more than 10 percent by utilizing FIC's production facilities in the Czech Republic, which is strategically located at the heart of Europe, he said.

FIC set up its first sales office in the Czech Republic in 1991, with mass production of consumer PCs starting in 1998. Its PC production capacity is more than 100,000 a month.

The collaboration with Sampo will mark FIC's first large-scale production of LCD and plasma TVs for a Taiwanese company, with initial output estimated to be 10,000 units a month, said Bjorn Tsai (蔡碧峰), vice president of FIC's advanced platforms group.

According to Peter Chen (陳盛旺), vice president of Sampo's electronic devices business unit, the company wants to push its branded electronics products to the same level as those of LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

He added that Sampo's overseas business is set to increase over the next three years to double the level of its domestic business, as a result of active market exploration in the US, Europe, India and the Middle East.

Currently, Sampo's overseas and domestic operations each contribute 50 percent to total revenues, while its brandname and contract manufacturing businesses account for 80 percent and 20 percent of sales, he said.

Sampo set up a joint sales company in March with German consumer-electronics firm G-Hanz, which has comprehensive sales channels in Sampo's targeted markets. Based in Munich, the venture will sell LCD TVs, plasma TVs, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators under the co-branded "G-Hanz SAMPO" name in these markets, he said.

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