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March 27, 2006

In Search of a Brand Name

What's missing from a country that produces "...three quarters of the world's notebook computers, two-thirds of its personal digital assistants and nearly 70 percent of its liquid crystal display monitors..."?

According to the Taiwanese government, its recognizable brand names. Taiwan feels China "breathing down their neck" as that country continues to manufacture more and more high-tech products.

BenQProbably the best-known technology brands coming out of Taiwan are Acer, (which is the successor company name to Acer), and . I probably don't have to state that these aren't household names yet. Nor are they particularly user-friendly to the Western world.

Acer is probably the best known as the world's fourth largest laptop maker and has a good presence in big box retailers such as Best Buy, CompUSA, and Circuit City.

The BenQ name is derived from the company vison of Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to life. I think this is a decent tagline or slogan, but a rather meaningless brand name.

ASUSI'm not sure what to think about the Asustek brand name, commonly referred to as ASUS. The company indicates that ASUS is from Pegasus, the winged horse of mythology and TeK is the phonetic spelling of tech, for technology.

I don't think it's the easiest brand name to pronounce, however, China's Lenovo sounded strange to me at first but the multi-million dollar media effort is quickly making the name as common as ThinkPad.

In the brand name arena, I think the Taiwanese should aspire to be as good at brand naming as they are at manufacturing high tech products.

For more news on this subject, read this morning's Seattle Times article, .

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Posted by William Lozito at March 27, 2006 12:37 PM
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3 Comments

If it were not for OEM deals, I would never have heard of ASUS, which made my old CD-ROM drive. As to BenQ, I have heard of it, but never made the connection to Acer, which at least in these parts has recognition—as an inferior product. As your Lenovo example shows, the mainland Chinese may be more conscious on how to build a brand in consumers’ consciousness—particularly strange given the more cosmopolitan orientation of the Republic of China (i.e. Taiwan).

I don't think Lenovo is an example of the PRC "building" a brand. All they did was buy IBM's Thinkpad business, then slowly bring their own name into the advertising for the product.

My guess would be that at this point, the majority of people who purchase one of these laptops refer to it as a Thinkpad, or possibly even an IBM, and not very many announce to their friends "I just got a new Lenovo."

This is a great blog. It's interesting to read about people's views on the Benq, Acer, and Asus brands. These are the "high-profile" Taiwanese brands. Asus (my favourite, and the notebook of choice of Taiwan's computer engineers) is one of Apple's partners, and manufactures many of their products (iPod/Nano) in China. Quanta and Inventec were/are also partners with Apple.

Interestingly, while many of these firms are attempting to forward integrate; they still get most of their revenue from OEM/ODM.

I wrote a post recently about Benq here:

http://orxilinasia.blogspot.com/2005/11/taiwan-brands-ii.html

Regards,
Gordon

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