Packard Bell resurfaces in Philippine market

PC maker makes a comeback in the Philippines with an aim to capture at least 10 percent of the local consumer market.

PHILIPPINES--Years after it pulled out of the local market, PC maker Packard Bell has returned to the Philippines following an exclusive partnership agreement with Philippine multi-brand distributor Axis Global.

Commenting on the company's homecoming, Roger Yuen, Packard Bell's Asia-Pacific vice president, said: "We have the right products, and we believe this is the right time to return to Asia."

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Yuen said Packard Bell Asia-Pacific hopes to imitate the company's success in the European market, where it is a "strong" No. 3 in that region's laptop market.

Packard Bell last week also unveiled it newest PC product lines, which it said will cater primarily to the Philippine consumer market.

The company is aiming big, with an initial target to capture 10 percent of the local market--currently dominated by bigger rivals Acer and Hewlett-Packard.

"We cannot disclose target volumes for our laptop products, but we are aiming to get at least a 10-percent share of the consumer market," Yuen said, noting that the company will specifically focus on this segment.

He added that Packard Bell also plans to widen its sales network in the Philippines through its exclusive partnership with local IT company Axis Global.

Ricky Lim, president of Axis said it will carry Packard Bell's complete line of products, ranging from the PC maker's flagship laptops to a slew of electronic gadgets that include MP3 players, storage devices, and plasma displays.

"We are looking to conduct a marketing strategy in the coming months to reintroduce Packard Bell to the domestic market," Lim said, but declined to disclose sales targets for the year.

Leaving its shaky past
Last seen plying its trade in the country in the 1990s, Packard Bell was later compelled to pull out of market following a major reorganization. According to Yuen, the company had to pull out of its business in Asia during discussions on its separation from Japanese electronics giant NEC.

European company ZDS first merged with Packard Bell in 1996, before Packard Bell eventually became a subsidiary of NEC in 1999. NEC, however, sold the company to businessman John Hui in 2006.

According to Yuen, talks of a possible merger with China's Lenovo "are ongoing", but he declined to disclose any details.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.