Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 12 News List

BenQ refocuses corporate strategy on netbooks

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Still reeling from its disappointing acquisition of Siemens’ mobile-phone business in 2005, BenQ Corp (明基) said yesterday that its new corporate strategy would focus on low-cost notebooks, or netbooks.

“To capitalize on the overwhelming consumer adaptation of mobile technologies, BenQ’s future will lie in netbooks,” Hank Horng (洪漢青), president of business operations of BenQ Taiwan and China, told reporters at a briefing.

Citing statistics from DisplaySearch, Gartner and IDC, Horng said the global market forecast for netbooks next year was 20 million to 22 million units, a 65 percent increase from this year. The 10.1 inch screen would be the mainstream netbook panel, he said.

BenQ unveiled its first netbook yesterday. Called Joybook Lite U101, its launch came just in time for Taipei’s Information Technology Month (IT Month), which starts today.

Weighing 1.1kg, the U101 features a 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, and runs on an Intel Atom processor. The suggested retail price is NT$17,890 (US$539), but during IT Month, the promotion price will be NT$16,777, Horng said.

Horng said BenQ planned to roll out more netbook models in April or May.

The Taipei-based company is No. 8 in notebook computer sales domestically. It ranks No. 6 in digital camera sales domestically, with a 6 percent of the market share.

Horng said BenQ’s 42-inch full high-definition liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TV set was the No. 1 seller among TVs at local hypermarkets.

In related news, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Siemens has agreed to pay 300 million euros (US$391.3 million) in damages to BenQ’s administrator over the bankruptcy of its German mobile-phone unit.

BenQ acquired the mobile unit from Siemens in 2005 before it became insolvent. The business went bust less than a year later after BenQ decided to stop funding it.

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