US Robotics sees US$25m earnings in Asia next year

Privately-held US Robotics expects to earn a "conservative" US$25 million in Asia Pacific (including Japan, China and India) next year.

SINGAPORE--Privately-held US Robotics expects to earn a "conservative" US$25 million in Asia Pacific (including Japan, China and India) next year.

"Three or four months ago, I would have talked about double the sales. But not knowing the length of the economic downturn, companies have become more conservative with their numbers," said Lars-Ole Hansen, vice president of its EMEA and Asia Pacific Region in an interview.

The US-based company, which was bought by 3Com in 1997 and divested three years later, is a leading producer of analog modems that is looking to expand into the high-performance Internet access markets for consumers and small offices/home offices (SOHO).

The new Internet access products it launched at CommunicAsia 2001 yesterday included its upgraded V.92 modem, broadband router, USB ADSL modem, wireless networking products and Soundlink.

Hansen declined to provide a breakdown by country, but said he hoped to see an average annual growth rate of 10 percent to 15 percent for the region in the medium to longer term. The company only recently set up its regional headquarters in Singapore.

"We will work with local distributors to tailor products to the individual markets, (and will look at factors such as) projected analog or broadband adoption rates, distribution channels and competitive differentiation," said US Robotic Asia Pacific Region managing director John Rea.

According to him, the company's key markets in the region currently include Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, while its fastest growing markets include Thailand, China and India.

It expects to sign on one of the biggest distributors in China "shortly" and is looking to partner with local Internet Service Providers to break into the consumer market in Singapore.

Among US Robotics' major investors are Solectron (via NatSteel Electronics), Accton Technology and 3Com.

CommunicAsia 2001--one of Asia's premier telecommunications and IT events--runs from June 19 to 22 at the Singapore Expo.