Synnex sets sights on communications

Synnex sets sights on communications

Synnex is to launch a communications division as part of its diversification strategy. The broad-based distributor is looking to further its reach because of concerns about an ongoing slowdown in the desktop PC market, according to managing director, Frank Sheu.

The new comms division will be launched next month with an expanded offering from sister company, Mio.

Synnex currently carries Mio portable GPS navigators but plans to add a number of new products including GPS-enabled smart handheld devices (SHDs). The distributor was also working closely with Asus for the local launch of its SHDs, peripherals manager, Jay Ko, said.

Synnex is turning its attention to communications after spending the past year building up a consumer electronics division. Sanyo, Fuji-Xerox and LifeView are among the vendors that have helped to fill out its convergence portfolio.

Sheu said this ongoing diversification would help Synnex overcome the current margin squeeze on components and PCs.

"We are still focused on components," he said. "But in the coming months we will be doing more around consumer electronics and communications as they are growing much faster."

Pushing lesser known brands such as Mio and LifeView through its communications division would help Synnex to differentiate and stay competitive against other major players like Ingram Micro, Sheu said.

"We are going in a different direction [to Ingram] by not competing exclusively on mature products," he said. "We will expand the market for these sorts of devices and push niche vendors to broaden their channel reach."

The Synnex announcement makes it the latest major distributor looking to tackle the convergence of IT, consumer electronics and communications.

The Cellnet Group, historically known as a comms specialist, moved into the IT space back in October 2000 with its acquisition of IT Wholesale. It strengthened its technology arm in July 2003 by adding components specialist, Cassa, to the stable.

The company also launched a new division, Cellnet Consumer Products, in June last year to push consumer electronics gear. As previously reported in ARN, it is now thought to be considering a restructure that will fold ITW and Cassa back into the parent company to create a single point of contact for all of its dealers.

Ingram Micro clearly has convergence on its mind too. On a recent Australian visit, global CEO, Greg Spierkel, said it would look to launch a local consumer electronics division within two years.

The news came after it agreed to pay up to $US200 million for US-based high-end home integration distributor, Avad.

Spierkel also said Ingram had started to form relationships with leading US telecommunications carriers in recent months to help further its convergence claims.

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