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Asustek eyes online sales in Southeast Asia

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. is scheduled to open its official online store in Singapore on July 7 as the company's first step in expanding its online sales network of the low-cost ZenFone smartphone into Southeast Asian markets.

Further, the PC vendor will open its e-commerce website in Hong Kong in late August or early September, said Michael Huang, general manager of the Taiwan branch of Singapore-based e-commerce group Uitox Corp., which teamed up with Asustek in April this year to sell ZenFone models online in Taiwan.

By the end of this year, Asustek plans to launch its official online smartphone sales service with Uitox in more Southeast Asian markets, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, Huang told reporters last week when he attended an e-commerce forum in Taipei organized by Facebook Inc.

Asustek officials admit to being surprised by the better-than-expected results of its online smartphone sales, which accounted for more than 30 percent of Asustek's total smartphone sales volume in Taiwan in April, Huang said.

The Taiwanese computer maker is targeting a higher ratio of online smartphone sales in July for its home market, and has determined to make inroads into the fast-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia, in partnership with Uitox, he added.

The ZenFone models, priced as low as US$99, were unveiled in January this year as Asustek's answer to Chinese handset maker Xiaomi Corp.'s affordable Hongmi series.

The ZenFone series has hit retailers' store shelves in Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, and is scheduled to go on sale in India, Russia and Brazil in late second quarter, according to Asustek.

Asustek CEO Jerry Shen told a media briefing on June 2 at the Computex Taipei computer trade show that the company was working with its suppliers to double ZenFone shipments from 500,000 in May to one million units in June, and it will maintain that level until at least the fourth quarter of 2014.

Asustek forecast at an investor conference on May 7 that it would sell 5 million to 10 million smartphones this year to boost its 2014 revenues.

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