Does brand matter?

Does brand matter?

Summary: Last weekend, I accompanied my husband to Sim Lim Square, a popular PC mall in Singapore, to buy a new home computer. He chose a white box PC with brand-name components, and finally settled on the best value-for-money deal after comparing prices.

TOPICS: Hardware

Last weekend, I accompanied my husband to Sim Lim Square, a popular PC mall in Singapore, to buy a new home computer. He chose a white box PC with brand-name components, and finally settled on the best value-for-money deal after comparing prices.

I suppose he didn't care for a brand-name computer because he is tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot issues himself, and it is, after all, a home computer which he will use largely for playing games and surfing the Internet.

However, buying computers for business is an entirely different matter, isn't it? There is the issue of support, a key selling point for branded manufacturers. And brand does matter when you think about the old adage that "you can't get fired for buying IBM".

But when it comes to brands: How do Asian brands stack up against non-Asian brands?

In the consumer technology market, much has been discussed and written about why Singapore's Creative Technology is still trailing behind Apple in MP3 sales. What about Asian companies that provide technologies to businesses? Do homegrown Asian tech companies have a fighting chance?

It seems that there's the Asian inferiority complex in the business technology market, too. Adrian Burden, CEO of Singapore tech startup Singular ID, which won ZDNet Asia's Breakthrough award, says companies like his have to overcome what he calls the "invented here" syndrome, which means that locally grown ideas cannot possibly be as good as those from elsewhere.

What do you think? Does brand matter and do Asian businesses shun made-in-Asia tech products?

Topic: Hardware


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • I personally think that Asians are a very discerning and value conscious lot. They want very good quality products and they want it affordable. However, usually in the absence of information in the technology world, most will opt for well-known brands.

    I believe it does not matter if a product is made in Asia or elsewhere. What matters in the technology world is quality and support. If iPod was shoddily built with a lousy user interface, would it have gained that mass adoption? I personally don't think so. iPod is a genious display of Steve Job's marketing skills. Every successful tech product, regardless of where it is built, has to encompass a perfect, or near perfect, mix of quality, marketing, ease of use and technical support.

    Our Company's own collaboration software ChatBlazer, proudly made in Singapore, have garnered many testimonials from customers all over the world. A common theme among these testimonials are quality and great support. If we care to infuse quality into our products, provide excellent customer service, position your product well, your brand will build itself over time. And soon, you will have that intangible and valuable brand equity built over the years.
  • I dont think Asian has inferior technology. but I think the key differentiations are that somehow, the X-factor isn't there.

    for the case of Creative, it's MP3 players are technologically more advanced than iPod. But it didn't look too much the part. The X-factor isn't there.

    Naming of the product is also an important factor determining success and failure. This is where Apple is so successful in naming iPOD. On contary Creative creates names like Nomads, Mouvo and Zen. the name Nomads just dont gel with music product. Mouvo is just too mouthful to pronounce, if one can get it correct at the first place. Zen? what are they trying to sell or project an image of? Zen as in japanese minimalism? try selling that idea to the Americans and the world? what are they thinking?

    Lastly Apple's superb marketing cloud made iPOD so desirable and fashionable that even small kids and granny wants them. 9of course granny buy it for kids) Creative much delayed effort to amass huge warchest spend on marketing come too late, and frankly to be of any use. What did they do? Produce a Asian cultural TVC and sell 'Zen'. This is hardly a cool approach to engage the US/worldwide audience to a hip culture.
  • I think Creative has a good brand name, easily marketed and remembered but they lack good ideas and has miserable product portfolio.