TAIPEI, Taiwan (AVING Special Report on 'Candid Talks with Taiwan IT Leaders') -- <Visual News> Regarding this new kind of future device, many Taiwan PC makers come up with several kinds of UMPC during this Computex Taipei 2007. What do you think about UMPC?
Last year you asked me about UMPC and I told you that we didn’t get into the market, since UMPC is proven not successful at all. UMPC is positioned as small high mobility pc. But it is priced too high. If you want to use a pc, 10-inch or 12-inch size is already small enough. If the size becomes too small, users fell uncomfortable. Intel also recently changed its strategy towards ‘UMID – mobile internet device, what we are exactly talking about. And the MID requires IT and mobile technology integrated. The device will serve every single primary function, not general purpose. If the device is set with right price range, people will start to use services on the device.
In my understanding, in terms of the design of the device, it will have bigger LCD screen than now due to services. For the input device, existing smart phones are already equipped with QWERTY keyboard. UMPCs both have a big larger screen and pc functionality. How would your new device look and what would you want to call the device?
For example, people start to accept the size of PSP – about 4.6 inch. This size becomes portable or mobile.
Many young generation or businessmen use the device for listening music, playing games and etc. so, what I am saying is that MID would not replace desktop or notebook. But during the business trip for example, people would not need to carry their laptop any more, since MID will be good enough to access email, editing some points on your powerpoint slides, not making the whole slides from the very beginning. With voice recognition becoming popular, the device will support the feature. So, you will be able to speak to the device for a particular service. Since you may have various features CPU and power consumption is a key issue for mobile devices and new low-power consumption technology is coming from Intel net platform for longer battery life. However, the main function will not just phone only, but it will be more application-focused, the one people use the most.
When do you expect to unveil the device?
I expect it will come Q1, 2008. We are currently developing this with Intel. There are seven vendors working with Intel and BenQ is one of them. Since we do have both competences – display, and very important mobile technology. Intel doesn’t push UMPC much these days. MID(mobile internet device), by definition, can be various in terms of form factors and user interfaces, but UMPC is just one.
So, maybe we can see the product next Computex Taipei 2008?
Yes, you can.
By the way, is there any special meaning in ‘Jiada’?
It means ‘achieving excellence’. ‘Da’ means to achieve and ‘Ji’ refers to excellence in Chinese. but it is just a temporary translation from Chinese to English. After we separated two business, we needed a temporary name for application for Taiwan stock exchange. Since we need to register both in English and Chinese, we decided to use Jiada temporarily, so final English name for ODM business will be different from this. When it will be proven during the share holder meeting, we will announce an official name.
(The interview was made on June 8. Afterwards, BenQ announced it will change its Chinese name from "Jia Da" to "Jias Da", and also it stated the official English name for the new company will be ‘QISDA’ meaning “Quality Innovation Speed Driving and Achievements”.
I see you wearing BenQ T-shirt saying ‘Shaping the future’. Is that a new slogan for BenQ?
Yes. It is a new slogan for our brand business. The future is very much about digital convergence and network convergence. In fact, we have already talked about this long time ago, but the promise of digital age has not been fulfilled 100%. Three years ago, we talked about E-home solution. But, without the network convergence, E-home couldn’t be the solution. But now we see possibility grow. I know two operators in Europe who launched so called ‘home hub’ serving as a gateway to connected home for telephone line, WiFi, Ethernet via either cable or wireless. In brief, it becomes center of everything. Meanwhile, we also start to see some digital photo frames or small TV moving around to view IPTV directly. That is the trend which shapes the future. And by joining forces together, BenQ is striving forward to enhance people’s life style.
Do you have any plan to launch new product line?
We do have this kind of project. We are preparing to launch digital photo frames in different design in the second half of this year.
You earlier mentioned mobile technology as a lesson from BenQ-Siemens mobile business. What else did you learn?
In fact we learned quite a lot from the case. BenQ has experience of merging other companies in the past – I mean smaller than Siemens in terms of size. And smaller size companies are more easily integrated. However for Siemens case. The size was almost equal to BenQ. And East and West management philosophy were quite different. Another thing is when merging money-losing business, you need a totally different strategy. So, if we have any choice in the future, we’d hope it to be some company that is already doing well in order to boost synergy between two companies. Of course, it is possible to make a turnaround success for the money-losing case but it takes longer time and needs lots of financial resources. BenQ and Siemens also had different approach in terms of design philosophy, new product launch cycle, and etc.
You used to spearhead the BenQ-Siemens mobile business. Now what is your role in new BenQ?
KY Lee will remain as Chairman for BenQ Corporation including brand and ODM business, as well as for AUO. And I am vice president of BenQ Corporation. I handle BenQ brand business and make sure setting up the new company, BenQ growth strategy to sustain our business model, and etc.
Can you talk about your marketing activity in terms of each product in detail including LCD TV?
Our main product lines come from LCD monitor, projector, laptop and digital camera as I mentioned earlier whereas LCD TV is not. We only pick up certain counties where we have shorter supply chain for LCD TV business. So now we are No.1 position in Taiwan and start to do some business in mainland China where we can directly easily access to the market for LCD TV business.
Going back to monitors, we have strong position in LCD monitors in general consumer market. and now we are entering professional segment like graphic designers, financial institution, or video purpose as well as more entry-level segment since BenQ does have technology in display and we now have access outside resources. For example we have outstanding ‘color matching technology.’ What you see is what you get.
We also plan to have more video projectors – home projectors. We already secured strong position in office and data projectors. Although we already entered home projector market, our product line was somewhat limited. But for the second half until next year, we will roll out more video projectors in different segment.
For digital camera, we will go with very nice slim and metal case design with high mega pixel. For BenQ Joybook laptop series, we will have some new technology related with display. We will adopt very slim design with bright display like OLED screen and integrate mobile technology.