Walking into a random Starbucks in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, you might be surprised to see over half of the laptops around you are from Asus.
In fact, until the end of 2018, Asus has held a market share of 41.8% in consumer laptops in Indonesia, according to market research company GfK. As for gaming laptops represented by its sub-brand Republic of Gamers (ROG), the percentage stands at 57%.
This year, the brand has set higher goals. Jimmy Lin, the regional director for Southeast Asia, told Business Next that the brand is aiming for a 50% and 60% share in these product sectors respectively. Meanwhile, to diversify the source of revenue, Asus will start to promote the sales of business laptops here.
Targeting mid-market customers
In 2019, Indonesia has a population estimated at 270 million, making it the fourth most populated countries in the world after China, India, and the US. "The market is hugely polarized here," Lin commented. "You can see it in the difference between the sales figures of high-end and entry-level laptops."
He believes, to achieve the goal of market share, it is crucial to reach customers of mid-level products while ensuring dominance in high- and low-end market segments — more precisely, maintaining the share of Zenbook and Asus laptop series.
To target mid-market customers, Asus's strategy is to provide "thin and light" laptops. But to attract them, he admits that the company needs to pay more efforts in customer education, which will be one of the most important missions for the latter half of the year.
In regards to the low-end market, Lin also shared with us a fun fact: 40% of the customers here want their computer to come with a CD drive; it's the main source of entertainment when the Internet, whose network covers only 40 to 50% of the country's territory, is inaccessible.
However, besides market share, Asus is also aiming for mindshare.
Seeing is believing
In Medan, the third biggest city in this archipelagic country, you might encounter a eight-hundred-meter street lined with Asus's signs. It's Jalan Putri Merak Jingga, also called "Asus Street."
Despite the brand's high market share in Indonesia, its name remains unknown to a lot of local people — because of the country's large population and low coverage of Internet network.
Asus's first solution is to expose as many signs as possible. Lin said that in developing countries like Indonesia, customers tend to judge a brand by its visibility.
The collaboration with local agents to become more visible has so far created a virtuous cycle: by putting up the signs, they benefit from the reputation of Asus and attract more customers while the company raises brand awareness and expands its influence in the market.
Local employees said that these signs do appeal to customers. This is why more and more stores start to follow spontaneously.
Meanwhile, since 2010, Asus has been developing trade marketing strategies in a more systematical way. For example, there are two special marketing teams formed to ensure Asus products "stand out."
The first team produces exclusive marketing materials like standing signs and stickers that describe the main features of the products, including "No.1 notebook in Indonesia" and "two-year warranty." And the second team places the signs and puts these two stickers on each laptop. Team members also keep an eye on them to make sure they're always visible; this is done depending on the designated level of the area — they can "patrol" an area once a season or once a month.
For gaming latops, the company has opened exclusive stores with local agents for customers to "see, touch, and feel" these products. At Manggua Dua, a electronics retail center in North Jakarta, they can enjoy "battling" with their friends in ROG's stores.
Esports as a lifestyle
In early July, Jakarta witnessed what Lin called "the biggest and unprecedented product launch" for ROG's new Intel core i9 gaming laptops.
Enjoying a market share of 57% in this item, Indonesia makes the biggest market for ROG in Southeastern Asia. In fact, in the most countries in this region like Vietnam Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines, it has taken the lead and held a market share of around 30% to 40% in gaming laptops.
"We won't make it without all of you (the fans)," Lin stressed repeatedly on the stage.
Fans swarmed this launch to see local influencers and esports stars, who showed up with Asus products, and take pictures of them.
This is what Asus has predicted. Its main strategy in Indonesia includes influencer marketing, which brings higher ROI than celebrity endorsement does, according to Lin.
In SEA, social media have a great impact on customer's purchase decisions. For instance, Deddy Corbuzier, known as The Rock in Indonesia, uploaded a video to Youtube in which he gave his son an ROG laptop. It has been viewed by more than 7.2 million users — an effective brand exposure for Asus.
Corbuzier was also invited to the product launch to unbox a co-branded coat with Under Armour. Lin regards this as a way Asus captures mindshare and "turn esports into a lifestyle."
Expanding into universities and sports centers
Asus seeks to make esports "relatable to students' career planning." Now, it organizes six on-campus activities every season, including not only esports competitions but forums where industry insiders share their observations about the trend of esports and players reveal what their lives are like as a professional gamer.
The company's ambition to engage young people is further represented in its collaboration with the Orion Sports Center in Jakarta, the first sports venue where esports competitions take place.
When there are no competitions, the venue dedicated to esports, named Orion Esports Arena, turns into an internet cafe. With a competitive pricing, it can attract more than 1,000 customers to play online games with their friends here on weekends.
With its brand influence, Asus expects to collaborate with local internet cafes to build esports venues for high-end players.