In an exclusive inte
rview with channelnews.com.au this morning, Peter Chai, the Asia Pacific Vice President and General Manager of 3Com said that differences in the local market make repeating overseas victories here a lot harder.
“In Australia, the retail sector is different and much harder to define the channels than in places like South Korea or Malaysia”, he says.
In fact, Chai notes, geography plays an important role in the what actually happens on the ground for the company.
“In South Korea for example, the majority of the market is concentrtaed around a couple of hubs, whereas here the distances are great and so the retail sector is very different.”
Having said that, the company that virtually defined unified comms a few years ago has recently been playing bridesmaid more and more to competitors like Cisco, with the resultant fall-out being that 3Com has all but fallen off the radar screen while rival Cisco has become more ubiqotous than ever – a situation Chai says will soon change.
“We are focused on the fact that almost half our buisness is SMBs- that is 50 employees and above- and we will be launching a new branding campaign- via direct end user and partner newsletters, general product releases and selective advertising and more PR to change this situation.”
Branding of 3Com too has been an issue he concedes “as to how people percieve us in terms of positioning.”
However, he notes in relation to Australia, “if we can find a cost-effective channel to market to SMBS, we certainly will exploit it.”
Not that Chai thinks that 3Coms technology is an issue here- as he points out- 3Coms products are “better solutions, come with open [SIP] standards, offer higher performance, are cheaper and allow the SMB not to be locked into one vendor”- all good reasons in his mind to use their products instead of the competitions.
This he implies, at the very least gives the company a good base to work from and he notes that some introspection has already begun as he notes “soon we will be looking at some very selective accounts.”
So only time will tell whether intensified marketing by 3Com to push their bundled solutions will come to financial fruition or whether Australia’s tyranny of distance and thus extreme importance of having iron-clad distribution channels will keep the company playing second fiddle to its competition.