After being president of AMD Korea, David Kwon, was promoted recently to managing director and corporate vice president of the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region. Kwon will now be in charge of AMD’s operations and sales across the APJ region, spanning Korea, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Kwon spent the past two years managing the AMD’s global business with Samsung and Toshiba, and joined the semiconductor manufacturer after spending more than 10 years at Dell. Kwon comes into the top APJ role at an interesting time in semiconductor industry, with companies such as Sony and Microsoft getting ready to launch their new generation of video game consoles.
Following Kwon’s appointment, PC World caught up with the AMD executive to find out what the vendor’s plans are for the region.
What do you foresee being your key focus for the region in the new role?
AMD Asia Pacific and Japan managing director and corporate vice president, David Kwon (DK): I’ll focus on strengthening AMD’s component channel, build on the ongoing success of our consumer notebook and desktop business, along with establishing a firm foothold for commercial business growth and reinforcing AMD’s business with key customers across the APJ mega region. I’ll also be looking into emerging markets such as India and ASEAN with the aim of capitalising on the potential of these markets.
How does this approach compare to what your predecessor did?
DK: I created and have implemented a business strategy which I call my "Diamond Strategy" to emphasize on collaboration, alignment and communications between customer’s headquarters and regional sales teams, AMD GAM [global account management], and regional sales and marketing teams. Based on this strategy, we provide added value to our customers by helping them to sell their products in the market with our regional resources. AMD’s strategy in the past was to simply focus on selling our products to end customers. The “Diamond Strategy” was the key success factor in the rapid growth of business with Samsung and Toshiba, and I’ll adjust and adopt it to the APJ business to help our customers succeed with our products, and allow us to succeed in the market together.
Where does the Australian market fit into AMD’s overall strategy for APJ?
DK: The Australia market continues to be a key focus for APJ, and a market where we see opportunities to grow share. Australians tend to be earlier adopters of the latest technology, so we are excited to be bringing to market innovative new products and form factors which will address key industry trends.
What are the key opportunities for AMD’s component channel business in the next 6 to 12 months?
DK: At CES in January, we introduced a series of upcoming products including the industry first X86 SoC [System on Chip], Kabini and the next generation of APU, codename Richland. Richland will offer even greater performance in both CPU and graphics, along with improvements in power consumption and satisfy most of the mainstream PC users’ needs. For graphics, we plan to forge greater inroads into the gaming industry this year, as well as offer huge benefits and values with the best graphics hardware from AMD.
AMD is quite focused on the consumer PC space, but how important is the PC gaming market to the company?
DK: Gaming has always been, and will remain, the core of the AMD graphics strategy and success. That’s why AMD runs the “Gaming Evolved” program to enhance collaboration with top-tier PC game developers and companies. It is also the reason why we rolled out the big promotions like “Never Settle” in 2012 and “Never Settle: Reloaded” for 2013. It is in order to provide the ultimate gaming experience to the PC gamers who are the most valuable customers for us. Combined with leading edge hardware, this gives us the best solution for gamers now and looking forward.
It has been over six years since AMD acquired video card manufacturer ATI. How has the acquisition from 2006 worked out for AMD?
DK: Thanks to the acquisition of ATI, AMD has been able to develop and provide quality APUs [Accelerated Processing Unit] such as Trinity. The APUs have been well accepted by worldwide customers and OEM manufacturers alike thanks to powerful discrete-like graphics performance, giving AMD leadership in graphics technologies for PCs. It also became the basis of AMD’s HAS [Heterogeneous System Architecture] initiatives, which enables the next generation in computing through the GPU.
With the acquisition, AMD found itself to be the supplier of the ATI Xenos graphics processor for the Xbox 360. Considering this is the first time AMD has been involved in the console business, how has the experience via ATI been so far?
DK: AMD has been closely working with console developers to evolve and improve the console experience for both gamers and game developers. It remains a major focus for us as we move towards the next generation of consoles. Console graphics is an important part of the AMD graphic strategy and business this year.
The rise in popularity of consoles has made some people concerned about the diminished role of PC gaming compared to what it was in the past. From AMD’s perspective, how would you judge the health of the PC gaming market at this moment?
DK: AMD has been closely working with many console game developers who want to evolve and improve the console experience for gamers. As the PC game offers more realistic and immersive gaming experience to gamers with more advanced graphic technologies, we believe that the PC gaming market is still very healthy and will remain essential to our business.
Competitors such as nVidia and Intel have been quite vocal in their marketing about their microchips being use for PC gaming, but it seems like AMD/ATI has been a bit more low key in promotions. Is this intentional?
DK: AMD’s “Never Settle” gaming promotion at the end of 2012 raised huge attention and responses from worldwide gamers. The strategy behind “Never Settle” and AMDs “Gaming Evolved” program is to partner with industry leading game developers, as well as help them cultivate unique and more immersive technologies specifically for customers with AMD Radeon graphics. AMD is then offering these games as a bonus to customers who upgrade to the latest AMD GPU. This year, we launched the “Never Settle: Reloaded” program with the best PC game titles such as Crisis 3, BioShock: Infinite and Tomb Raider. We believe that the “Never Settle: Reloaded” bundle clearly stands apart from anything else in the market, so expect AMD to continue to ramp the offers and associated marketing activities relating to our gaming partnerships throughout 2013.
There has been talk of the next generation PlayStation and Xbox using AMD CPUs and Radeon GPUs. Is AMD excited about the prospect of providing chips to two of the leading video game systems?
DK: Obviously we are very pleased to be a partner with Sony for the PlayStation 4. It is a great win for AMD, in addition to the fact that the Nintendo Wii U is also using AMD Radeon graphics. However, I’m not in the position to comment on the rumours surrounding the Xbox.
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