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Interview with ASRock COO Mr. LL Shiu

We recently had the pleasure to sit down with ASRock COO Mr. LL Shiu, one of the key leaders in one of the industries fastest growing technology companies – ASROCK.

I asked Mr Shui how he felt about their growth of recognition since 2002 when very few people actually knew who ASrock where. I also mentioned that the company are now seen as the number 2 in many markets. Was he proud of this?

He replied calmly “We are proud to be known as the first tier brand in motherboard industry. In 2011 ASRock’s motherboard shipment was nearly 7.8 million units and this year we are looking forward to achieve 8 million shipments. For the time being, ASRock has put branding/product quality as our top priority.

As the leader in motherboard innovation, ASRock constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation, resulting in features and high-end motherboard technologies. For ASRock, our future target is to occupy and keep leading position in worldwide market.

In 2012, ASRock completed our full product line from Gaming series, Extreme series to Overclocking series. In 2013, ASRock is likely to achieve 9 million shipments and keep the leading position in the motherboard industry.”

I then asked him which product areas ASrock had a strong foothold.

He said “Well, ASRock motherboards are best known for their innovative and creative ideas. ASRock will keep concentrating on the DIY market, mainly on motherboards, HTPC and server segments.

Currently ASRock has a full array of motherboard product lines and the sales volume has been rocketing. For the future outlook in 3 to 5 years, ASRock will stay focused on the product for DIY market. All ASRock products have been aligned with the highest manufacturing standards from plants to channels. We’ve also seen a strong demand for mini PC systems.

ASRock’s HTPC products majorly target developed markets, such as North America and PAN Europe.”

It is a tough industry. Originally, IDC was predicting growth for 2013/14, now it looks like the market could get a little smaller. How will ASRock change to meet market demands?

He thought a little and replied “The Euro Debt Crisis has a major impact on the Global IT industry. However; for ASRock in 2012 we didn’t suffer so much. ASRock is still growing this year.

To meet the shrinking market, ASRock already completed our three major motherboard lines and we will make an effort to satisfy our target high-end customer.

Moving onwards, ASRock will keep concentrating on gaming and overclocking sector as part of the global marketing strategy.”

The subject had to be pushed towards the next iteration of Intel processors. I posed the question if ASrock were ready for the upcoming CPU designs.

He smiled and replied “Our motherboard’s production schedule is based on the processors’ and chipsets’ timeframe. Since Intel’s new Haswell will attack the market in late April 2013, ASRock’s official debut of new-gen compatible motherboards will surely correspond with the launch path of Intel.

To deliver more possibilities to users, ASRock is planning to develop the new Shark Bay-based motherboards using the most trusted hardware components and practical software applications. From gaming-focused products to overclocking-oriented, business-targeted and mainstream motherboards, ASRock is confident to say that everyone can find his/her own ASRock motherboard to meet their requirements.”

The company strategy has changed, because ASRock started with ‘100% focus on value’ – now the company have a well earned reputation for engineering. How many people do you have in the mainboard design team?

Again he smiled “At ASRock, we do not merely pursue excellence, we also strive for absolute perfection in everything we do. There is a total of around 300 staff at ASRock, which include 160 R&Ds involved in hardware and software development. ASRock is always keen on offering the most reliable motherboard products. The premium quality is also assured by rigorous testing during development, so users are allowed to be obtained the most secure computing experience with ASRock motherboards.

In addition to the outstanding R&D team, we also employ a superb industrial design team to insert aesthetic insights into the mainboard designs to supply more fashion, modern and high-tech looking motherboard products to the market. We take everything, even little things seriously, no matter whether the investments are related to hardware/software functions or even just a small decoration; we hope everyone will be delighted with their ASRock motherboards.”

Do you think we will see more ATX, Micro ATX or Mini ITX boards?

He pondered the question for a second and replied “Well, I do realize that the compact tablets generate huge responses around the world, changing the average user’s computing behavior. In fact, the mini sized tablet is well-fit for light usages like checking/replying emails, but it may not be that convenient for users to deal with serious tasks.

Under my perception, the traditional desktop allows users to easily handle big projects and offer greater graphics capability. Users can build up their preferred desktop with ideal form factor boards. ATX, Micro ATX and Mini-ITX-sized mainboards provide three different levels of functionalities. I believe the functionalities/needs of desktops with different format motherboards are irreplaceable and the demands of the market will be positively increased.”

Will ASRock consider other products?  Maybe laptops or tablets?

“Currently, ASRock is tightly focused on developing innovative motherboard products for DIY consumers, industrial PC and server/workstation business markets.” He said, adding “We do not have new plans to join the laptops’ or tablets’ competition right now. However, ASRock’s motherboards can be used to run many kinds of applications. We are scrambling to find new growth opportunities as long as users want ASRock.”

Do you have new plans to differentiate ASRock motherboards?

“Unlike other motherboards, which may seem lifeless and boring with cold hard specifications or marketing gimmicks. We strive to differentiate ASRock motherboards by making them more customized.” he said. Adding “As mentioned earlier, we will be going deeper into three different routes. The Gaming series will accompany hardcore gamers in endless battles, while the Overclocking series will assist overclockers break world records, and the Extreme series will satisfy the tech savvy. We will also provide a wider selection in price and features, so that everyone can find his/her own motherboard.”

It was a pleasant conversation and Mr. LL Shiu seemed both relaxed and confident in the future of the company. If they can drive into 2013 as they have this year, then we have no doubts they will continue their success story. Special thanks to Mr. LL Shiu for taking the time to talk to us.

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