Asustek moving toward split, going green

Asustek moving toward split, going green

Asustek is making plans to spin off its brand name division into a separate company, and find new ways to create more environmentally friendly products.

Asustek Computer, one of the world's largest contract manufacturers, is formulating plans to spin off its brand name division into a separate company, according to an executive.

The company is also putting into place a series of measures to make sure its future products, and its manufacturing facilities, are far more environmentally friendly than they are today.

Asustek planned to pull off an Acer-style reorganisation within the next few years, and spin off its brand name operations into a company named Asus, while leaving its current moniker with the contract electronics manufacturing business, director of marketing at Asustek Computer, the world's largest motherboard maker, Sunny Han, said.

Such a split would look a lot like the reorganisation Acer accomplished a few years ago. Under pressure by its contract manufacturing customers to stop competing with them, Acer opted to spin off the business into a separate company, Wistron. The deal freed Acer from the headaches of dealing with its clients while marketing similar products as theirs, and allowed it to choose from a variety of contract manufacturing partners.

Asus would be able to do the same in terms of deciding how to contract out production, Han said. The brand name division currently markets 16 product lines, including laptop computers, mobile phones and LCD TVs.

The company has already made the move with its branded motherboards. The company merged its branded motherboard division, including Asus and Asrock motherboards, with that of Giga-Byte Technology. Asustek, which holds 49 per cent of the venture, will continue to create its own designs.

Giga-Byte will also continue to develop and market its own branded motherboards, despite the joint venture. The deal is complicated, but Han sees it as a first step in an eventual Asustek takeover of Giga-Byte's branded motherboard division, which would give Asustek a greater than 50 percent share of the global branded motherboard market.

Asustek's R&D lab is also working on ways to make company products far more environmentally sound than they are today, part of its Green Asus initiative.

Every design was critiqued for ways it could be more green, such as figuring out how to use more biodegradable materials, shared parts and making them easier to recycle, design manager at Asustek, Markus Wierzoch, said. An example was the company's switch to use metal in place of plastics and electroplating, which were far worse for the environment.

One of the initiatives the company is delving into is modulation, or making computer system modules so that users can replace parts of their PCs one at a time, instead of the whole system. By using modules, a user could keep their existing chassis, monitor, keyboard, hard drive, DVD burner and other parts, but install a new microprocessor module complete with the latest chipset and memory chips.

Such modules would help reduce waste by allowing users to continue to use good equipment, while upgrading only parts of their PC at a time.

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