They make good stuff. Engineered in Taiwan, built in China to be...what's the branding message?
This is why I laughed so hard at Joseph Hsu (right), the CEO of MSI, when he took his "rock star" turn during a CompuTex press conference held at Taipei 101 last month. (I took the picture. I am not a good photographer.)
MSI makes good stuff. But Mr. Hsu is missing a key Clue.
This fall MSI takes its acknowledged leadership in Netbooks and tries to parlay that into laptop leadership, with kit that looks, smells and tastes like a MacBook Air, only running Windows.
Taiwan needs for MSI, Acer and Asus to become brand names, because these companies have become much like H-P and Dell.
The engineering and marketing are done at home, while China does the mass production. And if China learns branding before Taiwan does it'll cut them out faster than you can say Tiananmien Square.
Again, as I noted at CompuTex, MSI's first attempt at branding is, well, pitiful. European and American consumers don't buy PCs because a model is caressing it. We buy them because we trust the brand and what it represents.
Once Mr. Hsu learns that, or accepts it, and puts it into practice, though, watch out. As John mentioned, MSI makes good stuff. MSI does its own engineering and has access to the cheapest manufacturing in the world. Mr. Hsu speaks the language of the makers.
How will America's tech brands compete once Joseph Hsu learns their marketing secrets?