Digiland plans own hardware line

Digiland plans own hardware line

Digiland will begin distributing its own range of branded hardware next year as part of ongoing plans to build a more niche and profitable product range.

The company has also signed a distribution deal with NEC and NEC Home Electronics to carry the vendor's entire range of IT and CE products. Managing director, Laurie Carmichael, said the decision to branch into its own hardware was prompted by a new majority shareholder in Singapore with investment ties to the manufacturing community.

The first product to be shipped under the Digiland logo would be an external hard drive with LAN connectivity. Aimed at the existing hard drive market, Carmichael said it would be suitable for home, SoHo and SMB users. This would be followed by the launch of a media streaming device, enabling users to transfer PC files through to home theatre products.

"You won't see 50 products suddenly come onto the market. We will gradually add to our list," he said. "Most overseas manufacturers look to appoint a couple of distributors, which creates pressure on margins. By having our own brand, hopefully our margins can be maintained."

Digiland announced plans last year to shift focus away from its traditional high-volume PC components business in favour of specialist technology. This change saw the company bring on a selection of lesser known overseas vendors producing IT equipment for the digital home space. These included home networking multimedia vendors, V1 and Complex, storage device producer, EastGear, and DVD player manufacturer, Enzer.

Carmichael brushed aside concerns of conflict between the Digiland range and its existing portfolio of overseas vendors.

"The Digiland brand will sit in fairly niche areas of the market," he said. "For example, we don't have an external hard drive product today with LAN connectivity, so there's no conflict with our other vendor partners.

"Where a vendor offers a product with unique features and benefits, we would continue to sell it."

The local subsidiary had also secured a deal with NEC to carry its full range of PCs, notebooks, plasma screens, projectors and LCDs.

"We are just going to concentrate on NEC in terms of our local product set," Carmichael said. "These will complement the products that we bring in from overseas.

"We don't want a wide range of local product, but a small selection of PC and display product. We will then concentrate on the products that bring in more margin."

Carmichael said the NEC line-up and Digiland hard drives would be available in January. The media streaming device was expected to launch within the first quarter next year.

The distributor planned to stage a series of road shows nationally next year to promote its product range to resellers. It would also put together bundles combining NEC product with its own range of hardware.

"We are not as large a company as we were before, so we want to do justice to the NEC hardware," he said.

Dicker Data managing director, David Dicker, said it had decided not to carry NEC product anymore because it was not viable.

"The products are good and the pricing is fine but you need more than that these days," he said.

"The brand is not popular in the channel and NEC is not prepared to do the marketing spend required to establish it in the mind of buyers. We have put in a huge effort without much headway."

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