Philips considers return to NZ PC market

Philips looks set to relaunch its PCs on the New Zealand market after a four-year absence.

Philips looks set to relaunch its PCs on the New Zealand market after a four-year absence.

Philips has been out of the industry spotlight since 1992, when it sold its data systems unit to Digital, but recently the company has stepped up its marketing activities for multimedia notebooks, desktop PCs and entry-level servers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Executives for Philips New Zealand are preparing to meet Taiwan-based management to discuss the possibility of a product re-launch in this country.

Though not prepared to divulge specific plans for the local market, Francis File, product marketing manager for Philips New Zealand, hints that discussions are imminent. "It's possible, and to that end we've actually got a meeting with Shanti Kumar within the next couple of weeks," File says.

According to Kumar, general manager of Philips' PC Unit in Taiwan, the boom in the PC market here and the location of many of the corporation's IT manufacturing plants in Taiwan have contributed to the decision to start the ball rolling in this region.

Philips is combining all of its PC-related products into one marketing structure, part of a strategy to get the Philips name recognised within the local PC industry. "Our stage one is to get Asia-Pacific going--to get our sourcing, manufacturing and distribution support for 'plain Jane' boxes under way," Kumar says. "Stage two comes when we will give the box its own identity as a Philips multimedia PC.

Kumar hinted Philips is considering incorporating its consumer technology into the new products, including such features as linkages between PCs and TVs.

The PCs will be aimed at the SOHO market, and priced about 15% higher than locally manufactured machines, but below second-tier international brands like Dell and AST.

Once the programme is successfully under way in the Asia-Pacific region Philips intends to launch in Latin America and Japan in early 1997. Following that, Kumar says, the company will evaluate its strategy for Europe and North America.

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