Wireless is the Next Leap Forward
HWZ: BenQ being a Taiwanese brand, was it difficult in establishing the brand in Australia?
Philip Newton: I think the brand name itself is irrelevant. What is important is integrity, a good team of people that understands the need for integrity not just for the products itself but everything that the company represents. Coupled with our customer service network and quality assurance infrastructures, we eventually built ourselves up to show consumers that we were heading in the right direction and that we possessed the right business attitude. We also learned that brand adoption would be easier if we had the communication strategies and product selection right. In fact, if you asked an average Australian which country BenQ originated from, the reply would be, in all likelihood, European. From our consumer surveys, people were telling us that BenQ looks and sounds European.
HWZ: How do you intend to emulate the success you enjoyed in Australia to Asia Pacific?
Philip Newton: I think the simple basics of integrity must be built into the brand and customer service infrastructure must not be neglected as well. Not only that, we also have to deliver on our promises. One of the things we are doing now at the regional level is to entrust the respective BenQ offices in different countries with more control and independence. Previously, it was the business group that was making all the business decisions. However, in the future, all those decisions will be made on a local level to tap into the local intellectual pool. In doing so, the flexibility will allow us to better commit and deliver on our promises.
HWZ: BenQ chairman and CEO Mr. Lee once said in Sydney, April 2005 that wireless connectivity will be the next big leap forward for BenQ's range of lifestyle C.E products. How is the progress so far and what were the toughest challenges faced?
Philip Newton: The progress so far has been excellent. In CES 2006 for example, we demonstrated our (BenQ) e-Home, showcasing all our consumer electronics products working wirelessly and seamlessly in a home environment. So in terms of bringing products to market, communication is absolutely critical. As far as I am concerned however, communication covers two major areas; mobile phone and the consumer electronics. The seamless, wireless linkage between devices is key and after the successful demonstration at CES 2006, consumers can expect to see a steady stream of such convergence products from BenQ in the next twelve months.
The toughest challenge faced was not to fall into the trap of simply incorporating wireless technologies into products and hoping consumers would have a need for these convergence products. In my opinion, going wireless for wireless sake is useless. When Mr. Lee said wireless is important, it is important, but restricted to certain applications. It is more a matter of addressing and fulfilling consumer needs that exist rather than blindly riding on the wave of convergence and the popularity of wireless connectivity.