No plans to sell PCs online, says Legend CIO

Legend Group Holdings Co., China's largest PC maker, has reaped significant benefits from its investments in e-business applications but the company has no immediate plans to begin selling PCs online, according to the company's chief information officer (CIO).

"Selling PCs in China over the Internet will be very difficult for the next three years," said Wang Xiaoyan, Legend's CIO and senior vice president of human resources management. For the time being, the company is using the Internet to provide information and support to customers, she said.

Legend does plan to begin selling PCs online in the future, when the conditions are right, she said in an interview at the Cebit Asia exhibition here. In the meantime, the company will continue to rely on its network of sales offices spread across mainland China.

"We are selling 100 percent of our products face-to-face with our customers," Wang said. Legend expects to sell 4 million computers this year, including more than 3 million desktop PCs, 700,000 servers and 300,000 laptops, she said.

While Legend doesn't plan to sell PCs online just yet, the company is investing in software to support its back-end e-commerce operations. Legend has so far deployed an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) package from SAP AG and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software from Siebel Systems Inc., both of which went into operation during the first half of 2000, Wang said.

These investments have brought substantial benefits to Legend, reducing its average time to market from 11 days in 1996 to 5.7 days in 2000, Wang said. In addition, the company has been able to reduce its inventory turns from 35 days to 19.2 days over the same period, she added.

Call center software has also helped the company reduce the average time that it takes to respond to a customer inquiry from 1 minute to 20 seconds, Wang said.

Cebit Asia runs through Saturday.

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