As the rest of the system builder sector struggles, one UK manufacturer is claiming that rapid growth and cash richness have put it in a position of strength.
Portsmouth-based Novatech’s record sales have made the £46m company the UK’s fastest growing system integrator for high-end Nvidia notebook sales, it recently claimed.
As the laptop and PC manufacturer announced a new focus on the high-end notebook business, it dismissed the idea that the PC market was too hostile for UK-based outfits to compete.
Kriss Pomroy, commercial director at Novatech, stressed that the firm was not abandoning desktops. “Our desktop sales are on the increase. We are going to put greater emphasis on the notebook ranges, because that is where the money is at the moment. You have to identify the surges in demand and, once you have, keep that product line available and well supported,” he explained.
Novatech’s decision to concentrate on notebooks follows a recent surge in sales of its Novatech Extreme x80r 17in notebook, which uses Nvidia mobile graphics chips.
Though Novatech’s PC and laptop business has grown consistently for 10 years, Pomroy warns that this is traditionally a quiet time of the year. Even so, Novatech has claimed it has seen an 11.5 per cent revenue growth in system sales in February and March.
The new laptop is aimed at the gaming market, but Pomroy admitted vendors should not get carried away by this niche market. “It is a niche product,” he said. “People keep telling me you can make 30-40 points out of selling machines to gamers. I do not think that is treating your customer very well.”
Did other local assemblers, such as Evesham or Rock, fail because they neglected these areas? Pomroy would not comment, but promised new sales outlets would be peopled by knowledgeable staff.
Any system builder in this market needs to be careful, said Nick Smith, new chief executive of Elonex, which has quit the desktop and laptop PC-making business and diversified into ultra-mobile PCs.
“There is a place for Novatech still, as it deals with components, and it is
slightly different,” he said. “But for anyone else, unless they are a tier one
player, there is not much point in system building. Since we got into ultra
mobile, we are doing twice the business we had done before.”
Elonex turned over £200m in the last financial year, said Smith.
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