Smartlink Enters Motherboard Market


5 Aug 2011
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Smartlink Network Systems has entered the Indian motherboard market under the brand name Digilite. The company aims to corner 10 percent of the projected four million unit motherboard market in the first year itself.

Smartlink has hired Rajan Sharma, the person credited with the success of Gigabyte India, to drive its motherboard business. “We believe that with our brand equity, strong regional distribution, and quality and coverage of direct post-sales support, we can make a significant impact in this market,” said Sharma, now Associate Vice President at Smartlink.

The company has launched seven motherboard models. These include three for the AMD platform, one Atom bundle, and three for the Intel platform.

Smartlink will leverage a dual distribution model—national distribution through Ingram Micro, and regional distribution through the 22 Digilink partners.

Smartlink will be assembling the motherboards at its Goa unit. According to Sharma, this will give the company a 4 percent cost advantage on taxation and also reduce the time-to-market. “Our plan is to price-position our products on par with those of Gigabyte and Asus. The cost advantage of 4 percent will enable us to provide partners with better margins. In addition, Gigabyte and Asus have a market lead-time of 6-8 weeks, while local manufacturing will give us a lead-time of less than 2-3 weeks.”

This would also help the company to work closely with OEMs because a shorter time-to-market helps them bring new products to the market faster and also contributes toward efficient rotation of their working capital. “Many OEMs are already talking to us,” said Sharma. “We expect OEM business to contribute 40 percent to volumes while channels will contribute 60 percent.”

As per Smartlink’s estimates, 3.6 million motherboard units were sold in India in 2010, with 50 percent going to OEMs and the other 50 going to the white-box PC market. Said Sharma, “Contrary to all predictions, the white-box desktop market is growing at a robust 10-15 percent. We expect the motherboard market to touch the four million unit mark in the current year, and our goal is to win at least 10 percent of this market.”

While Sharma admitted that the competition is tough because the three big players (Asus, Gigabyte and Intel) have strong brand equity, and together command nearly two-third of the market, he believed that Smartlink’s strong local RMA support would be its biggest USP. “In the motherboard market post-sales support is key, and through Digicare we have direct support in more than 55 cities. Our entire RMA process is managed locally, hence we can achieve faster turnaround. Don’t forget that Smartlink has strong experience in the motherboard segment through its earlier JV with Gigabyte.”

source : crn
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