Panasonic in corporate market play

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Panasonic wants its channel to know that it’s no longer mainly a consumer electronics company.

Panasonic wants its channel to know that it's no longer mainly a consumer electronics company.

The company on Wednesday launched Panasonic Business Systems Australia (PBSA), a new corporate sales division which would tap an expected $3.5 billion in product and services spend in the corporate and government sectors over the next year.

Panasonic garners the majority of its sales revenue in Australia from consumer product sales. It said it would do around $820 million in total sales revenue in Australia for its year ending March 31, 2004, but declined to break down the split between consumer and corporate sales.

PBSA was formed as a result of a company restructure in April which also spawned another division, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Australia.

The company said prior to the restructure, its corporate business was marketed in a 'silo fashion' and had a fragmented approach to the market.

In conjunction with the launch of its corporate division, Panasonic rolled out a swag of fresh data projector, printer, electronic whiteboard and mobile phone products as well as new models in its Toughbook range of mobile computers.

It also introduced Panasonic Business Finance, a finance option that can be used for purchases of more than $2,500 which would become available in November.

A premium maintenance agreement would also be offered to customers on selected products, the company said.

'Dealers want to be able to provide premium services,' said Greg Sampson, manager, strategic marketing at PBSA. Panasonic would operate a 24x7 call centre and customer problems could be escalated to a service call with dealers providing the service technicians, he said.

He also said the division would deliver increased co-operative marketing for its channel partners.

Current distribution partners include Teksel, MMT and Dicker Data.
New products include the Toughbook Lite W2, a 'ruggedised' laptop; a 42-inch plasma panel that's sold with a streaming box to deliver video with content controller by a central server; five new data projectors; the WORKiO printer that copies, prints, scans and faxes and a high-speed multi-DVD drive.

The company said it didn't expect to make changes to its existing distribution channel which includes Dicker Data, MMT and Tecksel.

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