An interview with Ann Bai, DRAM, Memory & HyperX Sales Director, APAC Region, Kingston Technology
“The biggest challenge in Gaming today is not technology, but the fragmented audience. Indian gaming industry is in its nascent stage but we see the high growth potential here.”
-Ms. Ann Bai, DRAM, Memory & HyperX Sales Director, APAC Region, Kingston Technology
As India transforms itself into one of the fastest-growing IT market powerhouses in the world, many a global IT bellwethers have started making a beeline in launching their products in the India market, depressing prices and forcing traditional market leaders to rethink their strategies. At this backdrop, American brand Kingston Technology better known for its memory products have smelt blood in the high-end gaming segment, making quality offerings under the gaming superbrand HyperX.
Behind this success story is Ms. Ann Bai, DRAM, Memory & HyperX Sales Director, APAC Region, Kingston Technology. Under Bai’s charismatic and dynamic leadership, HyperX has achieved a maverick brand status as a gaming product maker with inbuilt capacities and depth in development, production, marketing and service of gaming intelligent products. The Year 2016 saw Kingston ranked as one of the fastest growing brands globally. In the Indian market, HyperX has seen an exciting year so far with new memory – HyperX Predator Refresh – and HyperXCloudXheadset which is designed for XBOX. Having established a firm footprint in the country, HyperX has hinted at many new devices that are in the pipeline.
Ms. Bai began her stint in the Kingston marketing department in 2001, taking charge of marketing management in the APAC region. She moved on to the APAC headquarters in Taiwan to take on the role of DRAM Sales Manager in 2005. Her singular focus and persistence helped Kingston to go on a market expansion overdrive in the APAC region and went on to secure the lion’s share of the DRAM module market in APAC. Elevated as DRAM Sales Director in 2010, Ms. Bai now heads the HyperX product lines including DRAM module and peripherals.
In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now, Ms. Ann Bai
puts forth an in-depth perspective on the category and business of DRAM, Memory & HyperX of Kingston Technology, her vision, business challenges and key India strategies & priorities. Edited Excerpts…
Q. As a leading memory brand, how has been Kingston’s Journey in 2016 till now globally as well as in the India market?
Ans: For Kingston, 2016 has been a year of accelerated growth story. We have been ranked as one of the fastest growing brands globally and we are overwhelmed with the response in India this year. Adding to which, we have streamlined our product portfolio with the launch of several first timer and innovative products in India.We were able to enrich the experience of our customers across price points and will continue working towards making the best quality products mainstream.
Q. What new products do you plan to add to your product portfolio in India over the next six months?
AnS: Our product propositions in India are targeted at multiple user base – gaming, corporates, media houses, tech enthusiasts and more. We strive to improve and broaden our product offerings to accommodate several trends. Kingston has been No.1 in memory modules market globally as well as in India, and we further intend to strengthen our range with the positive traction and feedback we see in the market, to bring more varieties of memory modules. Very recently, we launched our CloudX headsets, our official Xbox licensed headset. We have a strong road map for the entire HyperX range of products, to bring more value for the performance oriented users for that believe in performance, looks and functionality.
Q. Would you please shed some light on the growth of HyperX as a niche brand globally. How has the India market responded to it?
Ans: HyperX is known throughout the world for quality, performance and innovation and this brand isn’t new to the Indian market. It is our high performance division encompassing high-speed DRAM memory, SSDs, Headsets and gaming peripherals. As it commands a premium mindshare with our target audience, it is relatively easier to educate them about the new products that we will have available for them soon.
HyperX has seen an exciting year so far with new memory – HyperX Predator Refresh – and HyperXCloudXheadset which is designed for XBOX. There are more exciting variants planned for India and hopefully you will get to see updates here soon.We now have products strategically designed to cater to specific user requirements. We are sure that with a better understanding of the upcoming technologies, capabilities of our products and proper usage, this will be a positive year for our stakeholders in India.
Q. What kind of challenges the gaming industry is facing at present? What kind of growth you have attained in India last year?
Ans:The biggest challenge in Gaming today is not technology, but the fragmented audience. Indian gaming industry is in its nascent stage but we see the high growth potential here.
We are working with ecosystem partners on both, micro level and macro level, to create an all-round excitement that can be sustained in the long run. We co-organize gamer meets all over the country to develop gaming cafés and hence the gamer’s experience. We are the main sponsors for India’s largest esport tournament – ESL India Premiership – to encourage gamer participation. Not only that, we also support budding gaming cafés in India to understand and set up their systems with optimum investments.
The Year 2016 has been very aggressive for us in the Gaming segment. We will continue to connect with the gamers in a better way to give them more opportunities to improve their gaming experience, with Kingston and HyperX products, that they would not be aware of otherwise. Our route for the year has been via the engagements at ground level to make them feel and experience Kingston like never before!
Q. Is DDR4 memory market heading for a big traction in India? What are your key future strategies for promoting DDR4 products?
Ans: We see wider adoption of DDR4 in the Year 2016. A good portion of increase in adoption can be attributed to corporates migrating from mid-range DDR3 systems to mid-range DDR4 systems. DDR4 is the newest commercial technology that helped us improve our customer’s satisfaction by manifold.
Our strategy is simply to invest resources in educating the target audience on the actual viable benefits they can expect in the short and long run. With the advantages it gets to the table, our customers are confident about the positive changes in TCO and downtimes, and hence the bottom line. Not only that, we will work on improving our product offering to satisfy varied needs of the Indian consumer, may it be better networking, better performance, better processing and better reliability.
Q. Where does channel partners figure in Kingston’s scheme of things?
Ans: Firstly, we are a channel friendly company and believe in working with our channel partners for all plans in India. We plan to grown in both, new business verticals and new geographies in India. For doing so, we will continue equipping our channel partners with useful tools and first-hand information about technologies and market changes that give them edge over competition. This year, we also have strong plans to cater to a broader customer base and to get newer products that will add value to the users. We have got a fantastic response for our products globally and in India and we are all geared up to bring in the range of products for different customer segments like Gaming, Lifestyle, corporates, enterprises & even media.
Q. As a memory brand, you have alarmed your rivals by popularizing the concept of Lifetime Warranty for all Memory products. It has created significant market disruption. What does it implicate for your brand as well as for the customer?
Ans: Reliability shall always be one the strongest pillar of our success story. Our Lifetime Warranty resonates the same philosophy. It only indicates the confidence we have in our memory products. Not just the lifetime warranty, we are pleased to mention that our memory products also come with 100% factory testing.
Q. Finally, please brief us on your Roadmap for the coming year.
With the country getting active on the global trading platform, we expect the year 2016 to offer more growth opportunities. Though we are the best in the world in what we do, we will strive to serve our customers better with enhanced quality, design, innovation, performance, affordability and customer service. India, being a big volatile market, our aim would be to see more people upgrading their old slow systems rather than buying newer ones. It doesn’t necessarily need to cost a lot to want good performing machines. With the efforts and investments, we make, we are trying to make the better technologies more affordable to the masses.
Kingston has seen success with the help of channel partners, media initiatives and educational campaigns and we expect more engagements on this front. More the customers become aware about the available products and solutions, more would they benefit in their business.