The road to obscurity is paved with good intentions. Making an Australian PC is hardly a new idea - many companies have had a go, and while many have produced competitive machines with a reasonably high local content, many others have tried the "badge it" route to Australianness.
The latest entrant to local PC manufacture, Hypertec, is hardly a fly-by-night manufacturer, is probably able to put in more local content than most others, and has a reputation for producing high-quality product. But do Australians want to buy Australian?
At Hypertec's launch for the new HyperFormance range, we were shown a corporate video that seemed to be selling Ayers Rock as much as anything else. That and the images of sporting heroes like Fraser and Newcombe. "But that's only the concept dreamed up by the publicity firm!" we were told.
For an Australian PC to sell, how Australian it is probably won't matter to the average corporate buyer. Sure, if it comes down to two equivalent brands, they'll probably lean towards the local machine, but in the end, it still has to be the best.
When I shop for everyday items like clothes and groceries, I like to buy Australian not simply because I'm supporting locals, but more importantly, because I feel that the local brands are of superior quality. But I haven't always been able to say that about things like cars, where local sometimes means inferior.
Companies like Hypertec, NetComm, Total Peripherals and quite a few other local manufacturers of computers and computer accessories are able to sell their products in this country because they became accepted for the quality they offered. Here at Australian Reseller News we'll always wish local companies well, and inform you of their products. What we won't do is promote inferior products with cheap tricks like pasting an Australian flag on the box.
True local content
When it comes down to producing any local computer products, we hit the underlying problem of just how little of the componentry can be sourced locally. We don't manufacture components here any more, it's expensive to get cases made and we don't have any restrictive requirements that favour locals, like the Swedes do. But that shouldn't stop us from trying. The more we make here (and the more we export), the more likely it is that it will be cost competitive to produce local parts like metalwork for PCs. It wouldn't bother me if my new Australian PC had the same case as three or four other local brands!