We talk to Martin Kent, Hannspree's UK and Northern Europe territory manager

Hanns around the world

You seemed to gain a fair bit more visibility at retail in 2009 – how successful was the year for you?

2009 was an extremely important year for the Hannspree and HannsG brands. A deluge of new channel customers helped both brands to achieve growth in new important markets and ensured the HannsG monitor brand remained a top six player for sales in the UK.

A growth in retail business was achieved through new relationships gained with PC World, Currys Digital and Staples. 2009 also saw Hannspree take bold steps to expand its well known TV and monitor product portfolio and enter new uncharted markets. Products such as digital photo frames, novelty gadgets and the acclaimed Hannsnote netbook series have contributed to Hannspree becoming a ‘consumer electronics giant’ across Europe in 2009.

Last year you worked with MSI on the Hannsnote laptop. How did that go and will you be moving more into that category this year?

The Hannsnote was received extremely well in the channel. Our customers achieved great results with the product and as such we will continue to supply and extend the Hannsnote product range this year. We have two new models which will come to market in Q2; a successor for the current Hannsnote, and a new model to the series, which will offer a larger display and a new Intel low power consumption CPU.

How are stand-alone monitors fairing with the continual rise in notebook sales?

We believe that the rise of laptops, netbooks and even tablet PCs is helping to fuel the standalone monitor market. The portable computer market concentrates on providing the most transportable solution and consequently size is most often on the decrease. Consumers realise the irreplaceable visual comfort of the bigger screen with higher resolution, and so the smaller devices encourage consumers to choose to connect to a large screen monitor when at home or in the office. The prices of monitors and portable computing devices are becoming much more affordable for the average consumer and so it is realistic for consumers to invest in and enjoy the best of both worlds. Also, larger screens with higher resolutions are vital for most of the sector’s current trends. Gaming, video editing, entertainment are all standard uses of PC equipment nowadays and for the foreseeable future.

Multi-touch looks like its going to be one of the most interesting developments in the monitor market this year, what are Hannspree’s plans in that area?

Multi-touch is certainly an interesting development for the monitor market. We are not yet entirely convinced that there will be a large market and it is very much still in a development stage.

We have invested in R&D for this technology and developed a Hannspree widescreen multi-touch monitor prototype which is in final stage of development but whether we bring it to market or not is a business decision that will be based solely on market demand.

3D is another interesting development that looks set to be a defining development in 2010 – how big do you think this will become and how will you be approaching it?

We are certain that 3D technology is the future of displays. The content providers are very interested in this technology as it has fundamental advantages for the user including increased visual bandwidth. For manufacturers and suppliers alike, 3D technology has the wow factor and evokes an emotional aspect in the purchasing decision for technology adopters.

The technology is at an early stage of commercialisation and aspects like market size and time to market need to be considered seriously before Hannspree makes a decision to launch 3D monitors. In the current monitor market, the gaming applications are the biggest driver for 3D and so we are seriously assessing our strengths and weaknesses for this segment in order to make an imminent decision on when to develop for this sector. In the long run it will undoubtedly be important for any display brand to offer 3D solutions.

As well as monitors, you’re also involved in digital photo frames and TVs. Where do you see these aspects of your business going over the course of the year?

Digital photo frames are a great way for Hannspree to unleash the imaginative, design-driven development that has made the Hannspree brand so recognisable. We are adept at marrying high quality LCD panels with eye-catching, unique designs. This year our digital photo frames take the form of animals, following the success of the animal range of TVs. 2010 will be a very important year for Hannspree’s LCD TV business. After the success last year of the ST Series, we hope to continue driving sales and gaining market share with a new range of affordable TVs in various sizes, equipped with HD tuners.

Hannspree are also looking forward to announcing a new series of TVs featuring LED technology this summer. LED technology has helped us to reduce the overall thickness of our TV range, which translates into better looking, slimmer designs, and will help improve our green credentials. Our new LED TV range will feature a triple tuner line up; DVB-T, DVB-C and analog.

Interest in tablet style devices is steadily growing momentum, especially following the launch of the Apple iPad. Is this an area you’re looking into?

It’s too early to say.

What are your main goals for 2010? Any plans for expansion?

The HannsG brand is very much established in the UK now and has gained a very comfortable top six market position. In order to grow the HannsG brand, 2010 will see us focusing our attention on some niche markets where we can explore our natural business strengths.

Hard glass solutions that address the needs of the education and public sectors; we believe this will improve our brand recognition and therefore sales in these very healthy markets. The introduction of LED backlit LCD monitors to our portfolio, as well as some new stylish designs and improved visual technologies, will expand our consumer and business offerings. LED technology will also play a part in increasing sales of the Hannspree TV series. With the HannsG brand established and thriving in the monitor market, the Hannspree TV brand will be a high priority in 2010.

We will also continue to expand the Hannspree range of consumer electronics, which allow us to express our passion for design and draw a lot of positive attention to the brand. Hannspree is an internationally recognised brand, helped by exposure created with the sponsorship of the World Superbike Championship. In 2010, we are investing more marketing resources into further, exciting events that will promote the Hannspree brand to new audiences.

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