Business

ASUS aims to become No. 1 laptop brand in Sri Lanka

By Charindra Chandrasena

ASUS, the Taiwanese tech giant, has been present in Sri Lanka for nearly 10 years, and having recently celebrated its 30th anniversary globally, it has set its sights on becoming the laptop leader in Sri Lanka.

“Our goal is to be the No. 1 laptop brand in Sri Lanka,” said ASUS Regional Head for India and South Asia Leon Yu, speaking to The Sunday Morning Business in Taipei, Taiwan, on the sidelines of the Computex 2019 exhibition.

The 2019 edition of Computex, one of the world’s largest computer exhibitions, took place at the Nangang Exhibition Centre in Taipei recently with ASUS as one of its biggest stalls, and was covered by international media, including The Sunday Morning Business.

With the preferences of the Sri Lankan consumer in mind, there are a few strategies that ASUS will employ towards achieving this target of top spot in laptops.

“The first is introducing thinner and lighter versions in our product lines and to offer multiple colours; secondly, we are offering the best gaming model in the market to reach and maintain our gaming No.1 position; thirdly, we will have a strong comeback in our commercial series. Last but not least, we will keep investing on shop expansion so ASUS will be visible everywhere in Sri Lanka,” said Yu.
As a short-term goal in its plans to reach the top spot in Sri Lanka, ASUS plans to achieve a 30% market share in the country by 2020.

“As of now, ASUS has a 30% market share in APAC – excluding China and Japan – in consumer notebooks and 40% in gaming, based on the latest data by global market research company GFK. We are targeting to reach a 30% market share in all APAC countries, and Sri Lanka is a country which the company certainly wants to invest in to reach this 30% share by 2020,” said Yu.

However, the Easter Sunday attacks have affected the immediate plans of ASUS in Sri Lanka, although these plans are rapidly being put back on track with the normalisation of the situation.

“ASUS regrets this tragedy which took place in Sri Lanka. It delayed a few of our investment and expansion plans that were scheduled for April and May. However, we have resumed these plans currently as the situation is more stable. ASUS will keep focusing on the Sri Lankan business and invest continuously,” Yu said.

30th anniversary

ASUS celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih hosted a special press event at Computex 2019 recently in celebration of the milestone where he unveiled a series of limited-edition devices to mark the occasion.

ASUS, the idea for which began as a conversation in a coffee shop in Taipei among a few ambitious engineers, today boasts a global workforce that includes more than 5,000 R&D professionals.

Furthermore, the company is ranked among Forbes’ Global 2000 Top Regarded Companies, Thomson Reuters’ Top 100 Global Tech Leaders, and Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies.

A range of new laptops were unveiled by the ASUS Chairman at the press event, including the ZenBook Duo, ZenBook Pro Duo, VivoBook S14, VivoBook S15, ZenBook 13, ZenBook 14, and ZenBook 15, to a packed auditorium of international journalists.

An exclusive limited edition ZenBook Edition 30, a luxurious pearl white model which features a hand-crafted genuine Italian leather lid cover was also introduced.

ZenBook Pro Duo

The most sophisticated and attractive of all these new models is the ZenBook Pro Duo, which features the new ASUS ScreenPad™ Plus, a revolutionary 14-inch full-width secondary touchscreen with remarkable interactive capabilities.

The ScreenPad Plus is a smartphone-like screen located above the keyboard for productivity enhancement. This is an upgrade to the ScreenPad launched by ASUS at Computex 2018 last year, which was widely regarded by the industry as the best implementation of a second screen on a laptop and offers a much smoother user experience and a much bigger touchscreen of up to 14 inches.

The ScreenPad Plus is ideal for content creators, enabling productivity enhancement and multitasking. As it integrates seamlessly with the primary display and the built-in ScreenXpert software includes a wide selection of useful apps, tools, and utilities, users are easily able to enjoy the efficiency benefits of ScreenPad Plus.

The ZenBook Pro Duo has a brand new celestial blue colour and a unique asymmetric version of the iconic Zen-inspired spun-metal finish.

The unique 4K ScreenPad Plus on the ZenBook Pro Duo gives users the ability to enjoy the productivity and efficiency benefits of using two separate LCD displays on a single portable device. The full-width, high-resolution 32:9 aspect-ratio touchscreen sits directly above the laptop’s keyboard, providing a greatly enlarged visual workspace while preserving the standard laptop form factor.

ScreenPad Plus can be used just like any standard second display in Windows to display visual content, or users can take advantage of many time-saving features and functions built into the ScreenXpert control software to simplify multiscreen window and app management. These include handy, quick controls such as App Switcher, ViewMax, and App Navigator that enable intuitive interactions and easy cross-screen referencing between the main display and ScreenPad Plus. Task Group lets users lock instantly into work mode by opening multiple tasks with a single touch.

Users can also drag discrete apps, toolbars, or menus onto ScreenPad Plus to reduce clutter on the main screen and enhance work efficiency. Creators can dock their tools such as video previews, timeline controls, code windows, or audio mixer panels onto ScreenPad Plus to optimise their workflow. Social communications apps placed on ScreenPad Plus allow users to keep up to date and respond instantly to messages while working, without having to switch between windows.

Adaptive functions, pioneered in the original ScreenPad, also offer enhanced workflow. ASUS is working with developers including Corel® to optimise adaptive ScreenPad tools for ultimate productivity.

However, any Windows app can be used with ScreenPad Plus, with no need for a specific ScreenPad Plus-enabled version.

Using the bundled stylus – or any other active stylus – enables yet another layer of interactivity for users, with ScreenPad Plus offering a superbly stable platform for writing or drawing. A bundled deluxe palm rest enhances the ErgoLift tilting keyboard design even further for the most comfortable drawing or typing experience ever.

ZenBook Pro Duo features the latest version of the ASUS NumberPad, an LED-illuminated numeric keypad integrated into the touchpad. There is also Amazon Alexa voice support, with a dedicated light bar at the front of the laptop that illuminates to indicate its listening.

Performance

Heavy duty performance is made possible by up to a ninth Generation Intel Core i9 eight-core processor with up to an unprecedented 5 GHz Turbo Boost frequency and 32 GB of DDR4 RAM ninth Generation Intel® Core™ processors, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, powered by the NVIDIA Turing™ architecture, which is a game-changing GPU that offers users the power of ray-tracing for visual realism.

An up to 1 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD ensures ultrafast data access at all times, and the full set of I/O ports includes a Thunderbolt™ 3-enabled USB Type-C™ (USB-C™) port. The latest Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax) takes wireless speeds to the next level for super smooth connections to the world.

To ensure smooth operation and maximum performance at all times, there’s a dedicated turbo fan button to boost cooling at any time, and the ErgoLift hinge improves airflow under the laptop for better thermal performance.

Visuals

The laptop features an attractive 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED touchscreen for high definition visuals, a 4K (3840 x 1100) ScreenPad Plus, and an ASUS NumberPad dual-function touchpad. The display is a frameless four-sided ASUS NanoEdge design, with ultra-slim bezels for immersive visuals and an ultra-compact form factor.

The 4K UHD NanoEdge OLED touchscreen on ZenBook Pro Duo has a four-sided frameless design featuring an 89% screen-to-body ratio that gives users more screen and fewer distractions. This display technology delivers ultra-vivid colours and deep blacks.

To display the most vivid, most realistic colours possible, ZenBook Pro Duo supports an exceptionally wide colour gamut with 100% DCI-P3 coverage and HDR. The DCI-P3 colour space – widely used in the motion picture industry – is increasingly the preferred choice of creative professionals for its increased range of possible colours, and makes images on the ZenBook Pro Duo look simply stunning.

Beyond ZenBook Pro Duo

For users requiring a smaller and more affordable ScreenPad Plus laptop, ASUS offers the ultra-portable 14-inch ZenBook Duo (UX481). It supports the same great ScreenPad Plus features as its larger model, but in a lighter and smaller chassis. Powered by up to an Intel Core i7 processor and GeForce MX250 graphics, it has an FHD NanoEdge display and an FHD ScreenPad Plus.

ASUS also announced at the press event VivoBook S14 (S431/S432) and VivoBook S15 (S531/S532), a pair of ultra-portable laptops featuring the innovative ASUS ScreenPad™ 2.0 secondary touchscreen that enhances productivity, and five unconventional colour‑blocking finishes to appeal to a younger audience. The sleek metal chassis features unique design touches and includes the ErgoLift hinge design for comfortable typing.

These laptops incorporate the new frameless four‑sided NanoEdge display design that gives them more compact dimensions and an immersive viewing experience thanks to an up to 88% screen‑to‑body ratio.

Powered by up to Intel® Core™ i7 processors and NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 discrete graphics, these laptops also feature up to a 1TB PCIe® SSD. These are also the first VivoBook models to feature an infrared (IR) camera, and Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax).

Sri Lankan launch

These laptop models, particularly the Zenbook Pro Duo and Zenbook Duo, will be available in Sri Lanka by October, according to Leon Yu.

“Most models we demonstrated in Computex, including the Zenbook Pro Duo and Zenbook Duo, will be available in Sri Lanka by the first month of Q4. By that time, we will also have a launch event to introduce the product to the country.”

Currently, ASUS offers a full-range product portfolio including a motherboard, graphic card, and desktop. The decision on whether to sell its handsets in Sri Lanka is under consideration, and there is no confirmation of that at the moment.

So what is the typical Sri Lankan consumer for ASUS products currently?

“ASUS has a product range which runs from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 4 million in terms of ultrabook, gaming, mainstream, and entry laptops. So we have products for all types of consumers in Sri Lanka,” notes Yu.