We managed to catch up with Kevin Lu, the Vice President of Albatron's I.T. Products Business Group and talked to him about the business of motherboard and VGA. Let's find out, as we ask him some burning questions about Albatron's history, future and product plans.
HWZ : Tell us a little about yourself and what are your main roles in Albatron.
Kevin : In Albatron, I'm the Vice President of sales and marketing. However, I treat this company like a family business because it's a mid-sized company and often members are quite experienced. You already know some of them are from major motherboard suppliers. Like others, coming from other big companies to Albatron, we have to show that we can be successful. It's a totally different mindset because we came here willingly although we hold important positions in other companies, and we put ourselves up to achieve a more difficult goal. We don't just do our job. When I talk to my other colleagues, I always tell them that I'm just their special assistant. When you ask me a question, I won't just answer 'yes' or 'no' because the company is not suitable for such a culture. We will go all out to help each other, brainstorm together. The sales and marketing leaders' position are even concerned about things out of their scope, like purchasing and factory process. We will give everything to make the company better. At this moment everyone in the company will have this same concept. During our weekly meetings for product and sales, we all have the same position to challenge, question and give suggestions, no matter what position they are in. That's the best thing to me, everyone has their own opinion and they can speak out.
HWZ : When we look back at Albatron's history, you came into the motherboard market in about 2002. So, before that, Albatron was just mainly a display manufacturer and the company was then known as CHUN. So what made this big divergence from being a display manufacturer to motherboards and other IT components?
Kevin : CHUN actually existed for over 20 years and it was the top three local manufacturer. Around two years ago, Mr. Jack Ko, who was the founder of Gigabyte, joined this company and became the CEO. We created the IT department which focused on IT products such as motherboard and VGA. Most of the members were from major motherboard suppliers and they all had 5-15 years of experience. Although motherboard and VGA are new products for CHUN, but we are all experienced, no matter it's purchasing, marketing, sales and including production. That's why we have two departments where IT takes care of motherboards and VGA products and CRT which is basically a TV company. I think the TV side met with really big challenges because of mainland China delivering goods to Taiwan with selling prices as low as the material cost of the products here. So we have to change and diverge into IT products. That's one reason. Another advantage we have is the experience gathered from the TV side. Most of the PC players or suppliers tried to go into the display area but they don't have the experience. We already have 20 years of experience. In the last CeBIT, we found out that people were more interested in the home media center concept with LCDs, TV tuners, Plasma TVs. This trend made us reconsider how to make Albatron stronger considering our own strength, advantage and opportunities. After discussions and brainstorming sessions, we found out that products can be developed together. We already have two same products, TV tuners in TVs and the same TV tuner in graphics cards (such as the Personal Cinema). Both R&D doing the same thing but we finally realized that both sides can help each other. You can see here that we have an LCD PC. To us it's easy to make it happen immediately but to others, we're not sure. We know many could not achieve good video quality but, due to our R&D engineers with 10-15 years experience, we have the ability to troubleshoot video quality problems very easily. Some of our R&D engineers can spot problems even with their naked eyes when normal folks like me cannot see the difference at all. That's our advantage.