Business Monday

Acer takes on Latin America’s huge PC market

Acer’s Aspire AZ3-615 is a popular model in Latin American markets.
Acer’s Aspire AZ3-615 is a popular model in Latin American markets.

Internationally known for its personal computers, Acer has been in the Latin American and Caribbean markets for more than 20 years, battling against much larger competitors like HP and Lenovo, the Chinese company that acquired IBM’s PC business in 2005, as well as other computer makers.

“Acer began selling products to Latin America in 1993 when we opened our office in Miami,” said Joe Castillo, the Doral-based general manager of Acer Latin America.

“Today we sell Acer and Gateway brands in Latin America,” Castillo said. “We primarily provide products for consumers, and our top sellers are notebooks and tablets. We are also ramping up our all-in-one (AIO) desktop business now.”

The Acer Latin American headquarters covers countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean, and oversees regional management, operations, finance, sales, marketing, and front-end service and support, he added. Acer also has local offices in Brazil and Mexico that cover these two markets.

For competitive reasons, Acer does not disclose regional employee numbers, Castillo said, but “Like Acer’s global model, it’s a very lean and efficient operation.”

Acer worldwide has about 7,400 employees and logged revenues of $10.4 billion in 2014.

Acer was established in 1976 and its global headquarters are in Taiwan.

The company was ranked No. 4 for total PC sales, according to a 2013 estimate by the International Data Corp., a global provider of market intelligence for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology sectors.

Acer designs and manufactures notebook and laptop PCs, tablets, servers, storage systems, smartphones and other products and is part of the Acer Group.

The group also includes computer maker Gateway, which was founded in Iowa in 1985, and Packard Bell, which started out making radios in the 1920s, later began producing TVs in 1948, and entered the PC market at the end of the 1980s. Acer has made other acquisitions, such as California-based iGware, which put Acer in cloud market in 2011.

Acer uses these different brands to target different customers in the global PC market, the company says.

A key part of Acer’s strategy is to make environmentally friendly products by reducing emissions at its manufacturing facilities and all along its supply chain, which moves products from plants to end consumers.

Acer’s sales and distribution system in Latin America differs according to each market.

“We sell to both large retailers and distributors, and the model varies by country,” Castillo said. “In the largest countries we sell direct to major retailers,” and also use distributors.

In the Caribbean, which has smaller markets, Acer primarily uses distributors.

“Today, we have about 60 retail and distribution partners in Latin America.”

Acer’s products are manufactured in China for its global business, and the company has two warehouses for Latin America — one in Miami and the other in Colombia.

Acer does not break down regional revenue figures for the public, but its third-quarter 2014 financial report said that about 46 percent of revenue came from sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, followed by 23 percent for the Americas, 18 percent for Asia Pacific and 13 percent for China.

Notebooks and desktop computers are the largest sources of revenue worldwide.

Even though Acer’s global revenue fell in 2014, Latin America has been performing well.

“We don’t break out sales figures by region, but Acer is growing in Latin America,” Castillo said.

“Acer’s 2014 sales were up 16.3 percent year-on-year from 2013, and Colombia is one of our strongest markets in Latin America.”

Colombia is one of the most computer and mobile savvy countries in Latin America, according to a recent survey conducted by Miami-based IMS Internet Media Services, a digital marketing and communications company that sells advertising to Latin American clients. Colombians (under 44 years of age) are avid consumers of smart phones, tablets, desktop PCs and other devices.

And with Acer’s business up in 2014, “we expect double-digit growth for 2015,” Castillo said.

“We are extremely proud of this growth in 2014, given that the overall market was down in the same time frame.”

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Acer Inc.

Business: Designs, markets and sells PCs, tablets, servers, smartphones, monitors and other equipment internationally. It also develops and sells software/services and invests in R&D. The company manufactures its hardware in China and has worked to produce environmentally friendly products. Acer Inc. is part of the Acer Group, which includes computer-makers Gateway and Packard Bell.

Founded: 1976

World headquarters: New Taipei City, Taiwan

President and CEO: Jason Chen

Latin America headquarters: 3750 NW 87th Ave., Doral

Latin America management: Joe Castillo, general manager of Acer Latin America

Employees: About 7,400 worldwide

Revenues: Worldwide revenues were $10.4 billion in 2014.

Ownership: Publicly traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange


Source: Acer