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Alcatel OneTouch back in Malaysia … ‘with a vengeance’

A. AsohanJan 10, 2013
  • Aggressive marketing plan, targets 3-5% market share by end-2013
  • Has learnt its lessons from its first foray – localization is key factor

SHENZEN-based TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd is aiming its Alcatel OneTouch brand of smartphones and tablets, formed via a 2004 joint venture with Alcatel-Lucent’s mobile phone division, at the Malaysian market for the second time, saying it was “back with a vengeance.”
 
The company has appointed Ten Ten Telecommunications, a subsidiary of TEN TEN Holdings, as its sole distributor in Malaysia, and would be embarking on a major marketing drive, said Liza Woods (pic, right), Asia Pacific regional sales director at Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed TCL Communication.
 
The company’s first attempt at penetrating the Malaysian market three years ago did not go well. “I’ll be honest – our presence then was not quite right,” she said.
 
“As with other companies in this space, we went through a steep learning curve. To enter and penetrate a market, you need to understand the market and create the right strategies for it,” she said, adding that planning sessions for its second entry into Malaysia had been going on for more than six months.
 
Woods said that the appointment of Ten Ten Telecommunications was a key factor. The latter’s director Alan Bong (pic, left) said his company has 1,000 dealers nationwide which would carry Alcatel OneTouch smartphones and tablets.
 
“According to IDC, smartphones will make up more than 50% of the total hand-phone market by the year 2014,” he said, adding that according to a Nielsen study, the smartphone penetration rate in Malaysia was 27% in the first quarter of 2012.
 
“Malaysia is also the biggest market for tablets in South-East Asia, with sales revenue for 2011 at US$374 million,” Bong said.
 
TCL has an aggressive marketing and media plan worked out, said Woods, although she declined to put a figure on this, saying it would be fine-tuned throughout the year. Its marketing efforts would also include roadshows, the appointment of brand ambassadors, advertisements on billboards and other platforms, and major product launches.
 
“We aim to hold a major product launch once every three or four months,” she said. “Typically, Alcatel OneTouch rolls out 40-50 new models every year; at least 20-25 of them would be made available in Malaysia.”
 
The company has set an aggressive sales target. “We don’t want to seem arrogant and we need to take this step by step, but I’d be happy with a 3-5% market share by the end of the year,” said Woods, “and even happier with a 10% market share.”
 
“Having said that, in the Philippines, we hit our targets within a few months of our launch there,” she added.
 
Woods noted that Malaysia has its own set of challenges. “The key factor is to localize. We have a grand vision for Malaysia, but we need to learn to walk first before we can run.”
 
She said TCL would tie up with Malaysian network services providers and is already in discussions, but declined to elaborate, citing non-disclosure agreements.
 
This would be especially important in the enterprise or corporate space, which would depend on what kinds of packages providers can wrap around Alcatel OneTouch devices to tackle the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) market.
 
“The main challenge will come from what our competitors do. I hope there won’t be any price-cutting because that would cannibalize the positioning of our products.
 
“Alcatel is very competitive, but we don’t create strategies around what our competitors do,” she added. “We just work on having the right products at the right price.”
 
Meanwhile, Bong said the models that are being made available in Malaysia include The Explore 997D, Insight 993D and Touch Tab T10.
 
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