BenQ Corp., which completed the takeover of Siemens AG's unprofitable handset unit in September, forecast a 90 percent gain in 2006 revenue, helped by sales of co-branded mobile phones.
Benq's sales "have a chance to reach more than US$9 billion in 2006," spurred by growth in the mobile-phone business, K.Y. Lee, Taipei-based BenQ's chairman and chief executive officer, said in an interview in Beijing yesterday.
Taiwan's biggest cell-phone maker had sales of NT$152 billion (US$4.75 billion) last year, based on reported revenue for the first nine months of 2005 and unaudited figures for the quarter ended December 31 published on the company's Web site.
Lee, 53, is betting handset demand in China, the world's biggest mobile market, will allow BenQ to meet that goal. BenQ aims to become the No. 5 cellular-phone manufacturer in the Chinese market as the Siemens combination helps it gain market share from local players. The mobile-phone business accounts for more than 60 percent of the company's total revenue.
"China is such an important market for every handset maker, and no one dares ignore it," said Tom Fu, who manages US$63 million in assets at PCA Securities Investment Trust Co. in Taipei, including BenQ stock.
China, which contributed about 25 percent of Benq's sales, had 388.2 million mobile-phone subscribers by the end of November. Global handset sales probably increased 20 percent to 810 million last year, after rising 30 percent in 2004, according to Stamford, Connecticut-based researcher Gartner Inc.
"China is the most important strategic market for us in Asia," said Lee, "The growth in China's handset market will outpace" the global market average.
The Taiwanese company aims to more than double its market share to 2.5 percent in China this year and to 4.5 percent in 2007. Benq's current market share is less than 1 percent in China.
"I think we can achieve that goal if we look at the current players in the Chinese market," said Lee. There are many local companies that "normally just sell their products in China alone and most of them don't have a chance to go outside the country."
BenQ, which says its name is an acronym for "bringing enjoyment and quality to life," plans to introduce 30 new handsets globally this year, with at least 20 available to Chinese customers, Lee said.
The company, which also makes laptop computers, flat-panel screens and video cameras, plans to more than double capacity at its handset factory in Suzhou, northwest of Shanghai. The plant's annual production will be raised to 100 million phones from the current 40 million, Lee said, without giving a timetable.
BenQ also plans to increase the number of so-called selling points in China to 2,000 this year from 700, Lee said.
Mobile division CEO Clemens Joos said yesterday in Berlin that it's possible for BenQ to reach a 10 percent global market share. The company ranked No. 6 worldwide with a market share of about 5.2 percent in third quarter last year, including Siemens.