Acer South Africa is planning to expand its scope of influence into new market segments with the introduction of new gaming and entry-level Internet access devices along with a new range of products.
Currently, Acer is the third-largest PC company in the world and the second largest in South Africa as well as in the overall Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The company strengthened its global top three status as a result of its acquisition of Gateway and Packard-Bell, a transaction that now positions Acer strongly in the US market.
Says Graham Braum, Acer South Africa's recently appointed country manager: "Acer has evolved into a multibrand PC vendor with a selection of products that match a diverse and complex set of needs in the market."
The group now operates under four primary brands: Acer, Gateway, Packard-Bell and eMachines. Under these brands, Acer offers a range of servers, PCs, notebooks, digital projectors, and LCD monitors that cover the needs of end-users from the entry-level consumer through to the top-tier corporate. Recently, Acer announced that it has acquired E-TEN of Taiwan, a designer and manufacturer of smart handheld devices, which means that the group is likely to add an Acer smartphone to its product range by the end of 2009.
The Acer group in South Africa currently represents products under the Packard-Bell and Acer brands in South Africa with plans to introduce eMachines during the second half of 2008.
Two new markets in sights
Two new markets that Acer South Africa will be targeting aggressively in the coming months are the extreme gaming enthusiast sector and the entry-level Internet device market. The company is targeting the high-end consumer market with the Aspire Predator, a new desktop product range that aims to satisfy demanding gamers with high specification processors, extreme graphics cards, liquid cooling systems, easy swap HDD bays, and gaming mouse and keyboard.
At the opposite extreme of the market, Acer South Africa will soon be bringing the Aspire One Internet device to market. This all-new communication device is designed to provide true mobile and wireless access to the internet no matter where the user is. The Aspire One is a Linpus Linux Internet device packed with fun and powerful productivity tools features in a diminutive 8,9" form factor weighing less than 1 kg, with e-mail, instant messaging, Web surfing, social networking, on-line gaming, Internet audio, photo viewing and virtual offices built into the system.
The Aspire One, it is an ideal product for emerging markets such as South Africa, says Braum. "Acer sees this product as one of the keys to unlocking the world's next billion Internet users. In South Africa, less than 20% of the population has access to the Internet," Braum adds. "As Internet-centre lifestyles evolve, Acer looks forward to working with the country's telecommunication companies to help get this product into communities that have traditionally had little or no access to ICT."
Acer Africa is backing its products up with a substantial investment in a local support and service infrastructure, including a new walk-in service centre where customers can consult with engineers. Acer has also increased its local spare parts holding to more than R15 million to ensure that customers can enjoy fast repair turnaround times.
In addition, the business executive is now protected by Acer's recently launched on-site warranty and business notebooks.
Acer has a corporate social investment programme (CSI) that focuses on giving back to the South African community, in line with Acer's promise to be a good corporate citizen wherever it operates and its commitment to black economic empowerment. "We believe strongly in the ability of sports and technology to empower communities, so these areas are right at the centre of our CSI strategy," says Braum.
Acer South Africa has funded the establishment of two computer laboratories in Soweto. The first lab in Orlando West was established in May 2006, and the second, located in Dube, was established a year later. Each laboratory houses two servers and 60 desktops, representing an investment of R250 000 by Acer South Africa. Acer will continue to pursue an active role in the education development arena for the foreseeable future.