Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Tatung eyeing Vietnam for 3C shops

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN TAOYUAN

Tatung Co chairman Lin Wei-shan, left, and executive vice president Lin Kuo Wen-yen hold up three miniature Tatung rice cookers -- the company's most enduring product -- at an event celebrating the opening of Tatung's 100th store in Taoyuan County yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG PEI-HUA, TAIPEI TIMES

Tatung Co (大同), the nation's leading home appliance maker, is considering replicating its local retail business model in Vietnam, its chairman said yesterday.

"If our local formula works out successfully, we will consider setting up similar stores in Vietnam," company chairman Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山) said after attending the 100th Tatung store opening in Taoyuan.

Tatung initiated a strategic change last year, renovating and expanding its service outlets around the nation into 3C -- computers, communications and consumer electronics -- stores. This allowed the company to diversify its offerings from home appliances to include computers and electronics from other brands.

Following its expansion in the country, the Taiwanese maker is eyeing the rising spending power in Vietnam, whose economy grew 7.9 percent from a year earlier, Vietnam's General Statistics Office showed.

In May, the World Bank forecast Vietnam's economic growth this year would reach between 8 percent and 8.5 percent, compared with 8.17 percent last year.

The establishment of a retail network could serve as a catalyst for Tatung's growth in Vietnam. The company has plants in Vietnam that manufacture home appliances, including fans, toasters and refrigerators.

China is another potential market, Lin said, but added that the company was still evaluating such plans.

For now, Tatung is focusing on the local market, aiming to give a facelift to another 120 stores by December, bringing the total number of transformed outlets to 220, said Larry Hsiao (蕭綮鞍), president of Tatung Consumer Products Taiwan Co (大同綜合訊電).

"We are opening at a fast pace of about 20 stores per month starting this month," Hsiao said.

The company will invest more than NT$250 million (US$7.6 million) to fund the renovations this year, he said.

It will be an investment well spent if they encourage more customers to splurge, he said.

For the first six months of the year, sales rose 22 percent from last year to NT$4.2 billion for Tatung Consumer Products, the marketing arm which sells Tatung-branded home appliances.

Hewlett-Packard Taiwan Ltd is betting on Tatung's expanding network to fuel its product sales.

"The growing store number should increase our product sales, as we promote desktops, notebooks and printers at Tatung outlets," said Jack Chen (陳國樑), HP Taiwan's director for consumer sales.

HP sells about 800 desktops and 400 notebooks through Tatung stores every month, he said.

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