Acer keen to find local partner for XCs

Acer Computer is keen to get low-cost computers called XCs into the New Zealand market. XCs are PCs with a single application, built for education, business, home use or other areas not needing the power of PCs. Acer is working with partners to design the XCs - what they consist of will depend on users' needs. The company is rolling out the XCs to Asian users later this year, but Acer Singapore-based chairman, president and CEO William Lu believes there will also be a market for them in other parts of the world, including New Zealand.

Acer Computer is keen to get low-cost computers called XCs into the New Zealand market.

XCs are low-cost PCs with a single application, built for education, business, home use or other areas not needing the power of PCs.

Acer is working with partners to design the XCs - what they consist of will depend on users' needs.

Acer is rolling out the XCs to Asian users later this year, but Acer Singapore-based chairman, president and CEO William Lu believes there will also be a market for them in other parts of the world, including New Zealand.

He says Acer doesn't have a specific timetable for when the product might appear here, but says Acer is keen to work with an industry partner here to develop an XC.

Lu says Acer works with industry players (such as banks or telephone companies) to make an affordable and easy to use XC. He says it's important to work with a partner.

"We don't understand too well about the specific requirements in different countries, so we need the local partner to tell us their requirements in terms of applications.

"So if in New Zealand some industry player - more likely in the service area - if they have a specific idea, and they want a more cost-effective computer to service their customer, then they can come to us."

The areas Acer is looking at developing XCs for include education, home banking, games, children and the Internet. Each XC would handle only one task.

Lu says another option would be to take XCs developed with another partner - perhaps a home banking XC developed with a Japanese bank - and then make that a standard XC for other countries.

The XCs will range in price from about $US200 to $US800. The "X" part of the name represents the unknown, "because the market segments are under development".

He says Acer's vision is for computers to be enjoyed by everyone, including people who can't afford PCs at present or find them hard to use.

Lu believes that eventually every home will have several computers. He says it's likely the first purchase will be a PC, but once people know what they want from their machine, the rest will be XCs.

"The second one may just do the Internet browsing, or just do the entertainment for the kids. If you accept this vision, will you buy five general-purpose PCs for your home? Definitely you will not."

He says that Acer's vision is also that in the next 10 to 15 years the number of XCs will be at least three times bigger than the number of PCs.

"If people don't know what they want, they're probably justified in paying a little more for a general-purpose PC, but if they have something in mind then I think the answer is quite clear and they should go with the XC."

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