NOVEMBER 23, 2006
When Gigabyte announced its plans to bring Asustek Computers into its fold,
there was a flurry of questions. Initially the two companies announced that a
joint venture would be formed to produce Gigabyte branded motherboards and
graphics cards. But this still left a lot of questions unanswered, especially
pertaining to what would happen to Asus' motherboards.
Now a clearer picture has emerged. And that is in the form of Gigabyte
United, a division of Gigabyte International, which will concentrate entirely on
manufacturing motherboards and cards. While Asus will continue to function as a
separate entity and will still be a competitor for Gigabyte United.
That is the message Tim Handley, Regional Marketing Manager - Pan Asia and
Pan Africa, Gigabyte United is disseminating on his one-day trip to India. “We
don't share our technology with Asus. So, Asus will still be our
competitor,” he noted.
But would it not make more sense to simply assimilate Asus into the Gigabyte
brand? Not, according to Handley. Firstly, because Asus has a different and
distinct brand identity. “Also, Gigabyte has technological agreements with
vendors like AMD and Intel. For instance, we are six weeks ahead for Dual Core
motherboards. If we merge with Asus then that relationship will be lost,”
Working in favor of Gigabyte is also the fact that the channel and customers
perceive that Gigabyte has takenover Asus. This way, its position has been
strengthened further among the channel community.
Handley also points out that Asus has strong relationship with OEMs and sells
largely to them. On the other hand, 80 percent of Gigabyte's business comes
from its channel. By keeping the two companies separate, Gigabyte can ensure
that it continues to meet the needs of two distinct set of customers without
losing out to an external competitor like Foxconn.
Interestingly, for the past two years, Foxconn was trying to buy Gigabyte.
“The reason was simple. Like most Taiwanese companies, Foxconn business model
was to simply manufacture motherboards in bulk to enjoy economies of scale. It
did not have any need to market its brand or create its brand identity,”
But China has emerged as the mass producer for the world and this put Foxconn
in a fix. It did not have a channel or go-to-market strategy. Also, Foxconn had
OEM partnerships and did not sell to the end-customer.
On the other hand, Gigabyte had a dedicated and loyal channel, a robust
branding strategy and sold to the end-users.
Therefore, Foxconn had been making overtures to take over Gigabyte as the
best route to transform itself into a popular brand. There was not much else
that Foxconn could have done to upgrade itself into an end-customer brand other
“So before Foxconn could take us over, Gigabyte decided to merge forces
with AsusTek Inc and consolidate its position. Plus, Asus was competing with
Foxconn on the OEM level. Therefore, this joining of forces has made Gigabyte
stronger as a company. Also, we can now make cheaper motherboards, without
compromising on the quality,” said Handley.