Cross-strait cooperation urged for computer industry

By Ruby Ying, The China Post

“It’ time for computer makers in Taiwan and mainland China to draw on the strength of each other to jointly tap the global market,” said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Legend Holdings, one of the mainland’s largest computer producers. During a discussion session at Computex 2001, which kicked off on Monday and runs through Friday, Yang and his Taiwan counterpart Wang Jeng-tang, chief executive of Acer Inc. who oversees branded sales, talked about their experiences in establishing an internationally recognized brand. “Legend has achieved impressive growth since 1994 because we have learned to provide products and services in accordance with consumers’ demand,” commented Yang. From its beginnings as a distributor for multinationals, Legend has now become China’s top PC maker with profits of US$35 million on sales of US$1.5 billion last year. Before it became the driving force behind the mainland’s thriving computer industry, Legend had experienced a hard time running its business in early days. “When the company was established in 1984, we had no idea of how to run a business in a market economy,” said Yang. Soon enough, Legend picked up modern management skills from its Western counterparts and began to develop its own branded PCs in 1990. “By constantly developing new products catering to consumers’ needs, Legend has now sold a full package of PCs, peripherals, Internet software, and service providers to mainland users,” said Yang.

Acer, on the other hand, has a different story to tell when it comes to the development of its brand. “Unlike Legend, which can capitalize on the vast market and resources in the mainland, Acer has made it clear since its establishment that a global presence is keynote of the company’s operation,” said Wang.

In Asia, Acer stands out as one of the very few non-Japanese companies to have built a globally recognized brand. It is certainly the only Taiwan company to have done so.

Over the past six months, Acer has been the source of some grim news as its U.S. operations have been cut back severely. However, Wang stressed that the company’s focus will be shifting to the mainland market. “Acer will secure its niche in the Greater China region before expanding to the U.S. and European markets.”

In the end, Wang suggested that Legend further extend its operation outside the mainland. “To increase the penetration of Chinese brands in the U.S. or European markets, both Acer and Legend have a long way to go,” said Wang.

“Acer has learned its lesson, and I believe Legend will not repeat the same mistakes Acer had made as long as it is ready to make a long-term commitment in an overseas market,” noted Wang.