Taking on Apple and Samsung

Benson Lin, Corporate Vice President, ASUS. By James Lu.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Benson Lin, Corporate Vice President, ASUS. By James Lu.

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ASUS Corporate Vice President Benson Lin tells us why ASUS is poised to take on the high-end mobile market.

All previous ZenFones have been entry or mid-range offerings. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe will be the first high-end flagship ZenFone. Why the change in strategy?

ASUS first tried to break into the high-end market with our innovative PadFone series, and from then, we’ve come to realize the potential opportunity of ‘empowering luxury for everyone;’ thus the creation of the ZenFone line.

Due to certain manufacturing costs and economies of scale, it’s taken us a while to be prepared to target the high-end market, but after establishing our position in the market with the ZenFone 1 and 2, with over 30 million devices sold worldwide, we believe that the ZenFone 3 Deluxe can penetrate the high-end market. From the start, it has always been our goal to enter the high-end market and deliver incredible experiences for our ZenFone users.

The high-end market is dominated by Apple and Samsung. While other manufacturers are pulling out of this space, what makes you think you can compete with them?

What makes ASUS different from other manufacturers is differentiation. We strive to be innovative with leading technology, which is why the ZenFone 3 Deluxe debuts several meaningful world firsts. It has an invisible antenna design, the first Snapdragon 821 processor and the first Sony IMX318 camera sensor.

Are better specs enough though? Samsung and Apple have a lot of brand loyalty. How will you convince consumers to switch to ASUS?

The high-end mobile market is a bit like the auto mobile business. BMW and Mercedes are the brands that everyone wants, but Lexus makes very good cars with similar, or even better performance, at a much cheaper price. ASUS is like Lexus. We can offer high performance specs and great features, but also great value.

If you want similar features from a competitor, you have to pay a lot more. It’s true that it’s hard to convince loyal Samsung and Apple customers to switch, but we hope that the ASUS brand name, and our fans familiar with our high-end computer components and ZenBook laptops will convince power users that this is the phone for them.

You said you strive to be innovative with leading technology. What do you think is the next big innovation for smartphones?

Since mobile phones have become the central personal device in most people’s lives, I think the next big innovation lies in further integration of everyday connectivity; the ubiquity among all electronic devices. For example, augmented and virtual reality integration, e-payment, indoor navigation etc. I believe further developments of these technologies will greatly change how we use mobile phones.