AMD eyes 'comeback' in Asia with reorg

Chipmaker reorganized its regional strategy from a "horizontal to vertical" focus, says its Asia-Pacific head, who admits AMD had "struggled" but is now ready to get back on the growth path.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
David Kwon, president of AMD Asia-Pacific and Japan

SINGAPORE--AMD is looking to make a "comeback" in Asia-Pacific after going through an internal reorganization and putting stronger focus on customer experience.

David Kwon, president of AMD Asia-Pacific and Japan, acknowledged the U.S. chipmaker had undergone some "struggles" in the region over the last year, suffering from low profitability and a lack of direction.

However, after taking over the reins as Asia-Pacific's head in February this year, Kwon changed the organization structure by making it more vertical, instead of horizontal, to establish greater focus and prioritization. The South Korean was speaking to ZDNet Asia in an interview here Wednesday.

For instance, rather than having individual managers head the various countries, he split the Asia-Pacific organization into four verticals--commercial, consumer, component, and marketing.

He explained that the previous horizontal structure caused AMD to lose its priorities and focus. For example, a country leader with a strong understanding of AMD's consumer business had to spend time performing marketing tasks, he noted. The loss of focus was made worse by the "complex" market in the Asia-Pacific region which comprised developed markets, emerging markets, different characteristics, and cultures.

Globally, the company had also undergone reorganization. During its fourth-quarter 2012 earnings report in January, CEO Rory Read said the company continues to "evolve our operating model and diversify our product portfolio with the changing PC environment". 

Lower losses, greater customer focus
According to Kwon, AMD is seeing some positive results. He pointed to the company's fiscal results for the first quarter of 2013 which were comparatively better than the previous quarter. 

It beat expectations to post a net loss of US$146 million and revenue of US$1.09 billion, compared to its fourth quarter 2012 net loss of US$473 million on revenue US$1.16 billion. Revenue was down 6 percent quarter-over-quarter and 31 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago

Revenue aside, Kwon said AMD employees were becoming more "efficient, effective, and proactive". They also were more customer-focused and cared about customer experience instead of simply being "the sticker on the system", he said.

"It's not what the company is or what it sells, it's the people who make a difference. They must be in the right role and have the right direction to get there," Kwon said.

Moving forward, he said AMD's goal for the second half of 2013 was not simply to "beat its competition and gain market share" in the region, but also to focus on corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as offering scholarships and distributing notebooks to children in poorer regions.

"Now that our employees have laser focus on what they want to [take the lead on], there will be a very changed AMD, not just in this region but globally. There will be a big ramp up and next year, [AMD] will just get higher," Kwon said.

Editorial standards