BenQ Canada tries another comeback

BenQ Canada Corp., a computing, communications and consumer electronics vendor, will this year focus its efforts on the sales of its projector and LCD monitor products to help reposition its brand in the Canadian market. In doing so, the company has introduced its X2200W and X2000W monitors, which BenQ claims are the world’s fastest LCD monitors.

Michelle Warren, a senior research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group, said when the brand first launched in Canada in 2003, it made such an impact in the industry with its massive marketing and advertising campaigns. Initially, Warren said the Taipei, Taiwan-based company did well with its Canadian unit shipments but for whatever reason, the company eventually had to put a halt to its advertising activities and re-evaluate its go-to-market strategy.

“There were many rumours as to why this happened,” Warren said. “Some think that with all of the money that was being spent with advertising, there was nothing left to continue and BenQ’s market presence then started to slip.”

Warren notes that BenQ Canada was once considered to be either a number one or two company in the Canadian market. And when the advertising stopped, she said the company’s ranking quickly plummeted to sit around the number 10 mark or somewhere outside of the top 10.

While Mike Booker, general manager at BenQ Canada admits the company faced difficulties in the Canadian space, he said this year, the company will work to rebuild its brand by focusing on its projector and widescreen LCD monitor offerings.

“BenQ isn’t a line that sells itself,” Booker said. “In the next six to 12 months we’re looking at changing the face of BenQ. We’ll be repositioning ourselves as a vendor that will focus on our projectors to help us get into the home theatre and installation markets.”

Booker said both its projectors and LCD monitors are two of the company’s core strengths and a special focus this year will be placed on its widescreen LCDs starting at 20-inches and above.

Warren said the projector space is an extremely competitive market in Canada and in order to successfully compete with other vendors, she said BenQ will have to stay well within the confines of what other vendors are offering with their projectors.

“Projectors are increasingly common,” Warren said. “They’re used in boardrooms and in homes and we’re at a stage now where a lot of companies are replacing their projectors because they’ve hit their maturity. BenQ can benefit from this trend.”

BenQ Canada’s go-to-market strategy is through both broad base distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data, as well as through various niche distributors, in addition to independent retail shops and VAR groups. In the past, Booker said the company didn’t offer enough back-end support for its partners. Today, he said this has changed where BenQ Canada’s service and support services are now much improved.

“We’re strictly a distribution channel-friendly vendor,” Booker said. “We’re very much a partner-oriented organization and everything we do is to support our distributors. We’re also trying to increase our margins for partners this year too. Right now, margins on our monitors range from 10 to 15 per cent depending on the sku. With projectors, that ranges between 10 to 25 points.”

The company recently introduced two LCD monitors to the market, the X2200W and the X2000W. Both monitors, Booker said, are designed for the entry-level gamer and for office graphic intensive users. The X2200W is a 22-inch LCD monitor that features 8ms motion picture response time (MPRT) and also 2ms grey-to-grey response time. Its MSRP is $369.99. The X2000W is a 20-inch monitor with a MSRP of $279.99.

“Their price points on these monitors are pretty good,” Warren said. “The company can still leverage itself in 2008 as long as they keep a focus on their products, features and price points. By focusing on their products, they can build up their brand again that way.”

Booker said BenQ’s value proposition is to be able to offer the best solutions for resellers and end-users and to ensure ample margins and support are in place. He also said later this year, BenQ will introduce some brand new product categories to its solution set of offerings as well.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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