Dinesh Sharma Business Head, Commercial PC & Smartphone, System Business Group, ASUS in India
ASUS the Taiwanese tech major and the fastest-growing consumer laptop brand in India, announced the launch of new Chromebooks in India, a series of simple to use, fast and highly affordable laptops, to enable millions of Indian consumers to adopt digital learning, work and entertainment experiences.
DeviceNext interacted with Dinesh Sharma, Business Head, Commercial PC and Smartphone, System
Business Group, ASUS in India about the latest Chromebooks, commercial series and latest PC buying trends.
Q Tell us more about your latest Chromebooks
The forced work-from-home and e-learning phenomenon induced by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an uptake in the use of laptops and also troubles related to it. ASUS Chromebooks have been launched keeping in mind to make the use of laptops easier, simpler and cost effective. We have realized that at this point of time in the market consumers are looking out for affordable PCs because they are moving to work and learn from home scenario, which these times necessitates. When it comes to affordable segments, we saw there is an opportunity to offer devices to students, homemakers and teachers which are faster as well as easy to operate, when we looked at the kind of needs, they had, they can be optimally met with alternative solution of Chromebooks, and the way we see Chromebooks, they are pretty much similar. Our targeted audience for these Chromebooks, are clearly students, homemakers, also the new cloud focused enterprises, which are there. Chromebook is extremely light and fast plus it has got access to the entire Google Playstore ecosystem.
Q Affordability and Availability are key in the segment, how you are addressing this?
Asus has reputed brand image in the market and we have good number of demands and queries for our products. Yes, our products will be available on both Flipkart as well as on our B2B channels for purchase. We have enough stocks also keeping in perspective the market sizing of Chromebooks and hopefully it should last for significant amount of time. We saw an excellent consumer response to our launch and very good online tracking for our products right now, which are early indicators. Also we are hoping that consumers will appreciate our efforts and our explanation that we brought to the table and also the resource support that we have given in terms of complete education of understanding which resources to refer to for understanding how to use the Chromebook. So, we have given access to an emulator online which consumers can go through and experience Chromebook functionality, and then we have also given education in terms of a host of a library of about 20 to 30 videos, which are How-To videos which consumers can access to.
Q Tell us about your commercial Series
Very happy to confirm that we are doing very well with our commercial series of products as well. The ExpertBook series has got excellent acceptance now, both from the channel as well as from the end users. We got large marquee organizations in the country with employee base running between 10, 000 plus to a lakh of employee base. Consumers using our products and also placing repeat orders, also we have very good traction and SMB channel as well. Very, very high pedigree and putative distributors coming and partnering with us now in the market for commercial PC business and the growth has been quite visible. Although the base was smaller so it can always be debited by competitors but it has been a high multiple growth that one can have. It is not up to 100% but around 100-percentag growth. So, I think it’s on the right track. We are primarily focused on building fundamentals very strongly. Company wants to become the most preferred partner brand in the commercial PC market. It’s easily said than done, and we are out there with focus and hard work moving to do it and that’s what our core focus is. We are putting our efforts in the right directions and tries to meet the expectations of our customers, then growth would automatically follow.
Company wants to become the most preferred partner brand in the Commercial PC market. —Dinesh Sharma
Q Current after -Sales Service network
Currently, we have more than 220 plus service centers in pan-India, and if you look at the current situation this becomes a big advantage for ASUS. In this current situation it does not matter to any company or any organization that whether you are serving their office or not, because employees are actually sitting out of their households and they are working. So, the scenarios for the companies is now very similar to that of consumer business, where they need service across the country, and ASUS is very strong in consumer business and very strong with a very large scale service setup, which has 220 plus centers means company is reaching out to the nook and corner of the country. This enables us therefore, to meet the service needs of the organizations much better. I want to add, when we came into the commercial PC market, we didn’t leave the any stone unturned. It’s not like that ASUS just focused on products and marketing and building up a sales team, in fact the first thing that brand focused on is service, and we did very, very detailed benchmarking and market study of the needs for our enterprise customers on service front, and we have built the whole solution first. So, before the launch of our ExpertBook series, we have already had a dedicated helpline setup for enterprise business which is actually one of the best in class when it comes to the time for operation.
Q How you are addressing the component shortage scenario?
ASUS belongs to the same industry, so the challenge which is being faced by the industry impacts us as well. There is no escape from the fact, but the important thing is like despite that challenge we have had a very high double-digit growth in Indian market. So, when we have a high double-digit growth for Indian market in a situation where there is shortage, it means that we have given disproportionate attention and share of our volumes in India, because internally we at ASUS consider India as like our home market, and we give it high relative importance. We have ensured that within the country we are able to maximize our supplies and as the fact that we have grown at a high double-digit growth in India in the PC business, is really a testimony of the fact that AUSU have really ensured that we maximize product supplies, but yes, with those challenges we grapple with.
Q Latest PC buying Trend in India.
If you see one of the biggest trends shift that happened in the PC industry is that – especially when it came to personal computing, it went from being one device for many to- one device for each individual. I am sure earlier even you would have to agree if you were to buy a PC for your household you would buy one and keep it as a spare device which would be used by the entire family, more importantly it’s like one wouldn’t buy a separate PC for every family member, pandemic had forced each and every individual in the house whether it’s a child or whether a homemaker or who are working, they need their own PCs, otherwise their work and studies will be difficult to continue. People have to take higher risk if they have to go to the bank versus doing most of the transactions on online banking. In pandemic, thing moved to digital and online, people shifted to more digitalized lifestyle. The individual PC and laptop ownership is the biggest trend that has shifted and has become really individualistic right like a smartphone. Everyone wants their own PC and that has led to huge growth in the market and also the types of PCs that are required are very different.