ASRock to Focus on South India Operations
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer ASRock has been around in India for some time now. The company manufacturers motherboards, industrial PCs and home theater PCs for a global market and is viewing India as one of their premier markets. In a chat with Channel Times, the company’s head of India Operations Manoj Kriplani discusses their plans for both channel and online sales. Excerpts from the interview…
Q: Please explain your channel structure in India?
Manoj: Both online and offline channels are important to ASRock as we reach out to both via our National distributors. Our strategy varies by regions as well as customer preference. For the Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities that boast of well-established e-commerce platforms, we sell online. Our high-end gaming boards are doing well on portals like Flipkart.com. We would soon add more from our product portfolio and also reach out to more online portals. For cities in the Tier-3 bracket and below, we prefer the offline route. ASRock and our national distributors work with local dealers thus tailoring our retail strategy to fit the market requirements and capabilities.
2. How serious are you on Indian market?
Q: Do you have a priority among these markets?
Manoj: Not at all. Each market is critical for us for we believe that India would be a prime mover of our sales, given the large market size and an economy that grew by 7%. We believe strongly that India will be a major market for us and therefore will put our best resources to grow on a good base. We will continue to focus on channels to improve our marketshare in smaller metros and in towns. Additionally, we will ensure high quality and enhance post-sales infrastructure as well.
Q: How do you position yourself in India?
Manoj: Currently ASRock is looking at promising growth rates in the coming months and years from India. At a top level, ASRock brand motherboards have drawn great interest during the year. Compared with 2012, our shipments in this segment went up by nearly 80% year-on-year in 2013, a feat of which we are really proud.
Q: You seem to have competition from many local players and unorganized brands.
Manoj: We see competition as a healthy way to growth. We perceive it from a very positive frame of mind and respond to it by giving several value-added features and new products to our customers. Unlike other motherboards that appear lifeless and boring with cold hard specifications or are founded on marketing gimmicks, we strive to differentiate ASRock motherboards by making them more customized. We propose to traverse deeper on this journey. The Gaming Series will keep abreast of the requirements of hardcore gamers while the Over-clocking Series will assist the over-clockers break world records while the Extreme Series will satisfy the techies.
Q: How many channel partners you have in India?
Manoj: We operate India Business from Taiwan. We have three main distributors at the national level in India. These are: WPG for Intel Entry and mid to high-end series, Jupiter for Intel entry-level MB and Executive AMD series and Mediaman for high-end and gaming series. We have two main OEM partners plus 50 channel-level partnerships.
Q: How channel-friendly is your company compared to other products/ brands?
Manoj: I believe we are not only channel-friendly, but more importantly we believe in being friendly to the end-users. We organize regular dealer meetings and training programs, work with local partners to find out customer preferences. We also examine competing products and set up selling points for our products besides providing the Golden Dealer program to support our partners.
Q: A big challenge relates to post-sales and service support. How do you manage this?
Manoj: Service is the backbone of brand image and we always work hard and try to give the best of after sales service. We constantly improve our service timings and are committed to answering each customer’s queries. We have Digicare as our third-party service partner and through them maintain a healthy 96% of 3-day turnaround in metro cities and a 7-day turnaround time in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We are also looking for more options to handle our growth in different regions.
Q: In which other states are you looking for partners, dealerships?
Manoj: We are happy with our current distribution channels. Each of the three national-level distribution partners carry a different ASRock product and profile. For dealers, we need to make our presence strong in the south of India, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Over the next few months, we will utilize our resources in these regions and run regular marketing and channel activities.
Q: What are the plans you have for your channels in the coming days?
Manoj: ASRock and Intel will soon be coming out with the Flex-Point Program which will run through October and November. Intel Gold and Platinum Partners can enjoy the ‘Flex scheme’ by getting points based on ASRock MB + Intel CPU bundle. For details Channel partners can check with WPG branches across India.
Q: Partners complain that ASRock is low on channel awareness. Your comment
Manoj: This may be true from certain regions only. ASRock has been around for 10 years and more and in the last couple of years, we have expanded our presence across India through a wide range of activities like dealer meets, retail-shop decorations, new product launches, bundle programs etc. Dealer and retailer schemes and promotions have also taken place. We may be slow compared to competition in South India and this will are committed to change.
Q: What aspects do you consider while launching a scheme and its periodicity?
Manoj: We have designed and set up different schemes and promotion programs for almost all levels which includes channel schemes, retail shop programs, online offers and also for end users. We run quarterly schemes and festive promotions for both channels and end users.