New Zealand Reseller News report: Renaissance Brands is returning to the world of nuts and bolts computer hardware with its appointment as sole local distributor for NEC. The Japanese manufacturer has given the distributor exclusive rights to its desktop, laptop and monitor products. The appointment is NEC’s first concerted move to launch its computer hardware to local business users, says Sydney-based regional director for Australasia, Tim Falinski. “NEC is now focused on expansion. This is our first committed move into this market in New Zealand,” he says. To date the company has primarily been selling its consumer PCs through mass retailers such as Noel Leeming, Dick Smith Powerhouse and Smith City. The agreement also signals Renaissance Brands’ return to the PC market – a sector it opted out of in 2001 when it dropped broad-based brands such as Microsoft, HP, Compaq and Toshiba to focus on sole agencies, like Apple and Palm. “This is our first foray back into PCs in more than five years. We are looking for a long-term strategic partnership with NEC and are very excited to have them on board,” says Renaissance Brands general manager Mark Dasent. “We will do for NEC what we have done for Apple over time — establish the brand and develop a channel.” Renaissance will promote NEC as a key alternative to the dominance of HP and IBM in the corporate desktop and laptop markets, says Dasent. However, Renaissance will limit access to the brand to a number of select partners. “We do not intend to sell to thousands of resellers. We are going to be quite selective to ensure we take on committed partners,” says Dasent. Renaissance will roll out NEC’s Diamond dealer programme here. Developed by NEC in Australia, the programme will be offered to a core group of partners who will have access to higher margins, exclusive product sets and enhanced vendor support, says Falinski. Renaissance’s appointment is part of NEC’s global strategy to increase its business outside of Japan, where it has been the number-one computer brand for 25 years, says Falinski. “We want to increase our international business from the current 15% to 20% to more than 40% in the next three years,” he says. Kher Hwa Ling, country manager at NEC says the company's other divisions throughout Asia Pacific will be contributing towards creating a brand presence and channel programme here. "NEC Asia Pacific will be contributing funds towards this. With a proper retail front and a good distribution channel we expect to see an impact in the market over the next year." Ling says the company is continuing its close cooperation with voice over IP specialists Skype and will be incorporating this into the product designs. "In Japan, NEC's product range is split roughly 50-50 between the commercial and consumer market," says Falinski. "Although NEC has traditionally been stronger in the consumer space in Australia and here, we are looking to bring that percentage closer to that of the Japanese market. Our product set can generally target the SME and SOHO markets as well as consumers." Renaissance is expecting its first NEC stock to arrive in the middle of April, and it should have the entire range available by the end of the month. The company is planning reseller events to launch the range, with details still to be finalised.