ASUS is a well-known global brand that produces a wide range of high-quality technology products. In India, ASUS has been making strides in the business, consumer and gaming laptops markets, thanks in large part to their commitment to cutting-edge innovations and to provide an exceptional customer experience. In this interview, DeviceNext spoke with Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer and Gaming PC, System Business Group, and Sam Huang, Country Product Manager India (PCs), both of whom are part of ASUS India. They shared valuable insights on how ASUS is working to enhance the customer experience, from ensuring product availability to creating gaming zones in stores. They also discussed the importance of catering to a wide range of customers, including those with tighter budgets who may be interested in refurbished machines. Read on to learn more about ASUS India’s dedication to providing the best possible experience for their customers.
Please tell us about the latest ASUS consumer and gaming series laptops that will be available in India, and what makes these models stand out from the competition?
Sam: ASUS has recently introduced its latest Zenbook and Vivobook lineups in India, featuring stunning ASUS Lumina OLED displays, ASUS Ice-Cool technology, and unique Military-grade durable designs. The latest addition to this lineup is the Zenbook S 13, which has been introduced as the world’s slimmest OLED laptop. With only 10 millimeters thickness and weighing just one kilogram, it is also equipped with the latest 13th Generation Intel Core Processors, making it the best solution for productivity and performance.
ASUS’s commitment to sustainable performance and purposeful innovations is also evident in the design of the new Zenbook S 13 OLED. It is made with recycled materials, including post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, post-industrial recycled (PIR) aluminum, and PIR magnesium alloy. The PIR metal chassis reduces its carbon footprint by more than 50%, while its packaging can be transformed into a laptop stand after unpacking.
The Zenbook and Vivobook series are not only sleek and stylish but also offer superior performance, durability, and sustainability. Users can be assured of a premium computing experience that is also environmentally friendly.
From ASUS’s perspective, how has the Indian market evolved in recent years for laptops across categories, especially gaming, and what kind of consumer demand are your seeing that’s driving the product innovations?
Arnold: We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for laptops in India over the past few years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the consumer laptop market in India was around 3 million to 3.5 million units per year. However, during the pandemic, the demand for laptops increased dramatically. In 2020 alone, despite two complete months of lockdown in India, the consumer market grew from 3 million units to almost 4.5 million units. The following year, in 2021, the market size grew even further to around 5.8 million units. However, in 2022, we started to see the market plateau and even slightly decline. Looking ahead to 2023, we expect the market size to continue to decline as the need for laptops decreases with the COVID-19 pandemic decreasing, and people return to work and school in person.
Despite the overall decline in the market, we’ve noticed that the gaming segment of the consumer laptop market is still growing. In the first quarter of 2023, the entire market declined by around 20%, but the gaming segment still grew by 10%. Given this trend, we plan to continue to strengthen our gaming product lineup since we’re already the leader in the gaming market. Additionally, we want to provide a variety of laptop options to capture different customer needs. Some customers may want a laptop for both work and gaming, and we have products like the ROG 13 that meet those requirements with a graphics card included. Other customers may only need a laptop for work, and for them, we offer the Zenbook options without a graphics card.
Overall, we plan to continue providing a comprehensive lineup of laptops to capture each and every segment of the market. We’re optimistic about the future of the gaming segment and plan to further invest in it.
How is ASUS supporting the demand of Indian gamers and e-sports enthusiasts, both in terms of products and community-building initiatives?
Arnold: We have two major initiatives to support the demand of Indian gamers and e-sports enthusiasts. The first one is called ROG Showdown, which we started in Q1 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic when physical stores and activities were not possible. We host gaming tournaments almost every week and have also started offline gaming tournaments since Q4 2022. Our goal is to provide a platform for people who love to play games to compete with each other, not just top professionals.
The second initiative is called ROG Academy, which we started in Q4 2020 with Season 1 and we are now on Season 7. The purpose of this initiative is to provide a platform for people who dream of becoming gaming professionals. We hire professional coaches who were once professional players in certain game titles, and we choose players through a competition process. We provide comprehensive training to six players each season, along with a machine, to make them understand the skills required to become professional gaming players. We also pay them a stipend to ensure they are taken care of and align high-level gaming tournaments for them to compete with other professional teams.
Through these initiatives, we cover the casual players via the ROG Showdown, and we also cover the potential professional gamers via our ROG Academy, which provides proper training to ensure they have the necessary skills to become professional players. Our goal is to contribute to India’s gaming market by providing a platform for gamers to showcase their skills and potential. We understand that India’s gaming industry is still in its initial stage, but we hope that our initiatives will help support its growth and development.
For creators and professionals who need high-performance laptops for demanding workloads and creative output, the gaming laptops fit their needs. How is ASUS looking at the creators community as a market?
Arnold: ASUS has recognized that many people who purchase their gaming laptops are actually using them for creative work such as content creation, graphic design, and video editing. However, we found that many creators prefer a more professional look and feel to their laptops rather than the “gaming” aesthetic. To meet the needs of this growing segment, ASUS has launched a Creator series with a physical dial on the laptop for easy color and light adjustments, as well as different graphics card options that cater to creators’ requirements.
ASUS sees the creators’ community as a separate and independent segment from the gaming community, and they are looking to expand their offerings to cater to this market. We believe that creators will become a much bigger segment in India and globally, just as the gaming laptop market has grown from a small niche to a significant market segment in recent years.
Dual Screen laptops have been an out-of-box innovation. So, from that perspective, could you share some innovations that are happening in this space around laptops?
Arnold: Yes, there are several exciting innovations happening in the laptop space. As you mentioned, dual screen laptops are gaining popularity and becoming more common among our customers. Another innovative initiative is the OLED panel, which has been available for some time but has traditionally been very expensive. However, at ASUS, we strive to make technology affordable and accessible to more people, so we introduced an OLED laptop in the sub-50,000 segment last year, making it much more affordable. This year at CES, we introduced a concept model of our 3D OLED laptop, which we believe will be a game changer in the market. With naked-eye 3D technology, users will be able to view 3D images without the need for additional glasses or screens. Although this may still be a higher-end product, we are committed to making it more accessible to a wider range of consumers in the future. Additionally, we launched the Zenbook phone last year, which is another exciting innovation in the laptop space. We are continually working to enhance and improve our products, while also making them more affordable and accessible to the average consumer.
Please share some details on ASUS’s store experience initiative.
Arnold: For a customer buying a laptop in the store, it is important to note that ASUS has made significant improvements to their shopping experience in the past two years. We have learned from the mobile industry that whenever they do a product launch, the product is available in their physical stores. This means that customers can go and try out the latest machines. We too now ensure that our products are in stock as soon as they are launched. So that customers can try the newly launched products, such as the Zenbook or the new dual-screen laptop, as soon as they see the press release. ASUS has also created player zones in our stores in India for the gaming customers to try out our gaming machines. Additionally, we have also recently opened the first authorized refurbished store in Nehru Place, Delhi, where customers can buy premium ASUS machines at up to 30% off. This is a great option for those who want to buy a new machine but don’t have the budget to do so. Overall, ASUS is committed to enhancing the customer experience by providing the best in-store experience and technical consultation to all types of customers.
Finally, what advice would you give to individuals who aspire to be gamers or creators and are in search of a high-quality laptop that caters to their requirements?
Sam: As an expert in laptops for gamers and creators, my advice for those looking to invest in a high-quality laptop would be to prioritize performance, display, and battery life. For performance, it’s important to consider not only the CPU and GPU but also the thermal capabilities of the laptop. For display, gamers may prefer a Mini LED or other high-performance display, while creators may require an OLED display for its brightness, color accuracy, and True Black. Finally, battery life is also an important factor to consider, and ASUS has launched laptops like the Zenbook S and Creator series with high-capacity batteries that can last over 12 hours. While there may be other features that users care about, I believe that the right combination of these three factors should be the top priority for anyone looking for a high-quality laptop.