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Hardware.Info Taiwan Tour 2013: MSI

Ted Hung on MSI's new strategy

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Introduction

Hardware.Info recently took a trip to Taiwan and visited the major hardware manufacturers on the island. Today we switch our attention to MSI.

MSI had invited us to the Master Overclocking Arena 2013 event, which you can read about here and here. It gave us the opportunity to speak to a number of MSI executives. First up was Ted Hung. For years he headed up the Dutch branch office of MSI, then he became the Assistant Vice President for the Business Development Division and then the managing director for MSI Europa. For about a year now he's been the Vice President of MSI’s motherboard division.

We also spoke to Eric van Beurden, who heads up the European product marketing department. He has a lot of influence on product development and the external communication of MSI worldwide. Eric and his team have been responsible for the many changes applied to MSI's motherboards and graphics cards.


MSI's head of the motherboard devision Ted Hung during MOA 2013.

Interview Ted Hung

Hardware.Info: “You have been at the head of MSI's motherboard division for about a year now. Have there been any recent developments you can tell us about?”

Hung: “The manner in which MSI approaches the motherboard market has evolved a lot over the years. Motherboards were the core business of MSI, but in recent years the company is getting involved with many more product groups such as laptops, tablets and all-in-one PCs. Motherboards have become a volume product and because the total market of motherboards and desktop PCs is no longer growing, we have to take a more specific approach. We have to ask ourselves why people still want to use a desktop and cater solutions to those specific reasons.”

Hardware.Info: “So why do people still use desktops in 2013?”

Hung: “We thoroughly analysed the market and based on that data we divided our motherboards into three segments, each with a specific target audience.

We specifically aim at overclockers. This target group always wants the very best performance, and we invested a lot of time finding out what their requirements are. It's also the reason for events such as MOA.

The second target group is gamers. This is the group we are currently focusing the most on. In total the desktop segment is stagnant or even slowing down, but the market for gaming PCs keeps growing. Every year more demanding games require more powerful hardware. We create gaming motherboards that offer the things that gamers find important: excellent performance, good network connections, advanced audio options and stability.

Our third category is what we call the classic motherboard, but especially for this segment we will make more specialised products. Not only for PCs, but also specific boards for things like digital signage."


MSI's segmentation: blue for classic, red for gaming, yellow for overclockers.

Hardware.Info: “Does that mean that each new MSI motherboard has to have a specific target audience?”

Hung: “That's right. When product managers propose a new motherboard they have to be able to define the consumer who will buy it. Before we designed motherboards purely based on what new chipsets or extra controllers were capable of. Now we try to listen very closely to our customers. If a particular customer has specific requirements and is able to order a sufficient quantity, we can also develop custom boards.”


A good example of a custom MSI board designed specifically for a customer. You want an affordable Z87 board without monitor connectors in black and red? You got it. There is only a single location in the world where you can buy this Z87-S02.


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