While superstore and mass merchant retailers squabble for early stock of Intel Pentium III-based PCs from the global companies, smaller dealers would be much better off focusing on built-to-order options.
Most early adopters are more aware of what they're after and won't settle for standard configurations. So catering to their specific needs is where the best opportunities for sales currently exist, according to the local assembly industry.
"For us it is looking good," said Raymond Wong, general manager of Perth-based assembler Trinix Computers, on the interest in PIII systems.
"Early adopters know what they want and they all want something different," he said. "The advantage local assemblers can offer to dealers is in flexibility of configurations. We can build the system they want, not just standard configurations."
Wong also felt there was no point trying to compete with the big retailers selling the global brands.
They will always have a price advantage and will attract less informed buyers, Wong said.
"The early PIII buyers want to select the hard drive, memory, video card etc that suits them best," he added. "That means offering a build-to-order solution and that is what we have been doing."
Alex Chan, national sales manager of Ocean Office Automation, said response from his channel to the PIII launch has been "very good". He pointed out that for assemblers there is very little difference between the price of the 450MHz PII and PIII systems, and that dealers sourcing Intel-based systems from local assemblers should only be ordering the new-generation processors where such clock speed is required.
"The best opportunity for dealers at the moment is to have a built-to-order option as that is what the early customers will want. If they are requesting a 450MHz processor, they will know a bit about computers and will have a configuration in mind that suits them."