Westan heads across the Tasman

Westan heads across the Tasman

The procession of Australian distributors heading for New Zealand continues unabated, with Westan announcing it will open an Auckland operation on May 1.

Westan managing director, Victor Aghtan, said the 500sqm premises would initially have three staff. But the company is currently interviewing potential business development managers, product managers and sales staff with a view to hiring a further five people in the next month.

A wide area network or DSL connection will link the office back to the distributor's Melbourne headquarters.

One of the founders of Tech Pacific NZ, Paul Dixon, has been recruited as managing director of the trans-Tasman subsidiary.

Aghtan said the trend for Australian distributors to establish a presence in New Zealand was being driven by the vendor community.

"New Zealand is not that big a market compared to Australia, probably about 15 per cent of the size; which in turn is not very big in global terms," he said.

"Vendors want to consolidate the distribution channel and it makes sense for them to deal with one in Oceania. It means they don't have to manage the territory themselves."

In order to be successful in New Zealand, Aghtan said it was important to bring its major Australian vendors across. The Westan line-up includes Intel, Samsung, Western Digital, Fujitsu and new recruit SMC Networks.

Aghtan said Westan had worked with the networking vendor for three years in the 1990s but terminated the relationship because of over-distribution. "The company didn't understand the channel business and nobody was making any money," he said. "But there's sense in the way it has restructured its channel."

SMC is also distributed by Sydney-based Unistar, but the vendor has assured Westan there will be no conflict because it concentrates on the enterprise space.

Westan is targeting gross sales of $100 million in Australia this year and up to $15 million in New Zealand.

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