Thu, May 31, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Acer reaps rewards from gaming PC, VR strategy

MARKET COMPETITION:Chief executive officer Jason Chen said the firm is focusing on battles that it thinks are ‘big enough to matter and small enough to win’

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Acer Inc’s (宏碁) transformation plan to tap into more lucrative market segments — such as gaming PCs, virtual reality (VR) and VR content — has begun to bear fruit, despite continued weakness in the global PC market, chief executive officer Jason Chen (陳俊聖) said on Tuesday.

Acer’s efforts in the gaming PC market resulted in sales exceeding NT$20 billion (US$665.7 million) at the end of last year, Chen said.

Its gaming PC business posted a first-quarter gross margin percentage that was in the high teens and its contribution to total sales was a percentage in the mid teens, Chen told analysts at an investors’ conference in Taipei.

Gaming PC sales registered 94 percent annual growth at the end of last year and last month’s sales were up 190 percent year-on-year, Chen added.

While sales by rival gaming PC makers have reached between NT$80 billion and NT$90 billion, Chen is confident that Acer would continue to grow faster than its peers in the segment by forgoing the typical price-to-spec method of competition.

He said that Acer’s gaming PC product line stands out with its specially designed chassis that shields users from harmful electromagnetic interference, as well as its superior heat dissipation systems that provide cooling without sacrificing performance.

Boosted by gaming PCs, the company saw its consolidated gross margin reach 10.7 percent at the end of last year, the highest in 14 years, while its operating margin was 1.5 percent, a record high for the past seven years, he said.

As for the emerging fields of artificial intelligence and cloud computing, Chen said that the company is still looking for ideal entry points.

“We are looking to pick battles that are big enough to matter and small enough to win,” Chen said, “It is not helpful to compete in segments already dominated by ‘500-pound gorillas.’”

The company is also on a steady course to launch initial public offerings for many of its fledgling subsidiaries, he said, adding that many still need to be tested to see if they meet equity listing requirements.

Acer’s subsidiaries include StarVR Corp (宏星技術), which made its debut on the Taipei Exchange’s Emerging Stock Board last month.

Other promising stars in the PC maker’s stable include information technology and database management services provider Acer Cyber Security Inc (安碁資訊), smart traffic solution provider Acer ITS Inc (智通), high-performance computing developer Altos (安圖斯科技), distribution channel operator Weblink International Inc (展碁) and system integration service provider Acer e-Enabling Service Business Inc (宏碁資服).

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