BenQ is making a striking move to broaden the spread of its DVD components for computers, taking away distribution from Synnex Canada and giving it to a smaller firm it feels is closer to system builders.

The company announced that it’s expanding its relationship with Comtronic Computer Inc.

of Markham, Ont. to include its line of optical drives, keyboards and mice. It already carries BenQ monitors.

With the move Comtronic joins Bell Micro as the distributors of the company’s DVD drives.

The manufacturer wants to leapfrog over other vendors selling older CD- based drives by pushing its DVD drives, explained Jimmy Davlouros, BenQ Canada’s vice-president and general manager.

It chose Comtronic because the distributor is focusing on new markets, he said.

“”The optical drive market is making tremendous strides into the rewriteable DVD sector,”” noted Davlouros.

In the first nine months of the year the company sold 70,511 DVD drives, he said, accounting for US$7.7 million in sales through all channels.

“”Since the market is really high on CD-RW, we have the opportunity to start fresh and clean. So we’re going to stay away from CDs and focus on our DVD-RW’s.

In explaining the Synnex move, Davlouros said the broadline distributor seemed to be honing its strategy after purchasing niche distributor EMJ Data Systems earlier this year.

But, he added, “”it doesn’t look like they can do a good job for us, as a brand-new vendor””[of DVD drives] for system builders.

A spokesman for Synnex Canada could not be reached for comment by deadline.

“”Distributors are catering to channels with the best possible price, versus going out and trying to building emerging markets,”” Davlouros observed. What BenQ wants are distributors who will push DVD drives as a replacement for rewritable CDs.

“”It’s very tactical, very strategic,”” he said of the decision.

So strategic that neither Ingram Micro Canada nor Tech Data Canada, BenQ’s biggest distributors here of other products in its lineup, have been asked to carry its optical drives. In part that’s because BenQ is a relatively new player in the optical drive market, said Davlouros, and doesn’t think these broadline distributors would give it the attention it needs.

“”Once BenQ becomes a major player, they might want to take a look at us,”” he said.

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