Veteran Queensland PC reseller Datamini Computers has transformed itself into a wholesale and distribution company to escape the threadbare future it sees facing medium-sized resellers.
As Information Technology and Personal Computers (ITnPC), the refocused company has already struck alliances with a number of major vendors, including little-known Taiwanese heavyweight GVC, which claims to be the world's largest fax-modem manufacturer.
ITnPC has spent the past year setting up its wholesale and distribution structure in Queensland while winding down the retail side of 10-year-old Datamini Computers. In the process, turnover has trebled, according to ITnPC managing director and Datamini founder Corey Tai.
ITnPC strategy revolves around choosing a single preferred dealer in each region as the channel for Datamini computers. Other products handled by ITnPC, including Samsung monitors, Acer desktops, TI notebooks and peripherals from Canon, Deltec, HP and Seagate, will be available to other outlets in the same region. However, Datamini desktops will only be available to the preferred dealers, Tai said.
This strategy distinguishes ITnPC from Optima Computers, whose disappearance from the Queensland wholesale market in the past year was labelled "a bonus" by Tai. His switch from retail to wholesale was dictated by the small margins and fierce competition in the retail market, especially in the middle of the market, he said. "We believe the very small stores and the very big will survive. But the medium-sized ones turning over 200 to 300 computers per month will have difficulty."
Although it is concentrating on Queensland, ITnPC expects to open an office in Melbourne over the next few weeks in partnership with Datamini Computer Victoria. It is also forging cross-distribution arrangements with Q*Soft, another Queensland-based distributor in an expansionist mood.
Picking up GVC's business might be scored as a coup for ITnPC. Ranked among Taiwan's top 10 IT manufacturers, GVC until now has been content to OEM for European and US vendors in its seven manufacturing facilities. However, GVC is now entering the market in its own right and has chosen ITnPC as the importer through which it will supply the Australian market with its modems and other products, said GVC vice-president Leo Hsu. Hsu noted that two of GVC's seven plants are now located offshore and hinted Australia could be considered as a future manufacturing site.