Tech Data Canada has announced the latest version of its annual program to lure system builders into buying its vendors’ component products.

The Year of the Monkey program, named after the Chinese calendar, targets system builders and component resellers, provides VARs with the opportunity

to receive discounts on products and win prizes through events and promotions as well as features such as Build-Your-Own-Bundle.

The incentives’ nomenclature was created six years ago by Tech Data Canada because its resellers — especially those in Ontario and British Columbia — and its own employees are from the Chinese-Canadian community.

“”Our Year of the Monkey program allows Tech Data to develop and strengthen our customer relationships, while positively positioning our vendor’s component products,”” said Ray Gonsalves, director of product marketing at Tech Data Canada. “”We hope to create awareness among our resellers of the options available to them in the components landscape.””

Gonsalves added the company is looking to grow its component sales by 10 per cent this year. To date, component sales make up 14 per cent of Tech Data’s total revenue.

Tech Data will be holding a series of events and promotions throughout the year.

From January 12 to March 31, resellers participating in the program will have the chance to win $5,000 towards redecorating a room of their choice with some assistance from a feng shui master. To earn a ballot, resellers must make $10,000 in cumulative purchases of the participating vendors’ products from Tech Data.

Gonsalves said the company waited until mid-March to announce the program because it wanted to get some feedback from the customers first.

Other promotions include the white book demo unit promotion, which was showcased in February, and the Moon Festival reseller promotion, which is scheduled to start in the fall.

The new Build-Your-Own Bundle feature allows resellers to literally build their own bundle of components products and receive discounts from Tech Data upwards of five per cent, said Gonsalves. Resellers choose from a core set of products offered by participating vendors and bundle them together to earn discounts, which they can pass on to their customers. This feature can be found on Tech Data’s Web site at www.techdata.ca.

Tech Data recently held a roundtable discussion in Vancouver to bring system builders and vendors together to discuss industry issues and develop solutions. It also hosted Year of the Monkey dinners in Toronto and Vancouver for select system builders and component vendors.

“”By providing our customers with great promotional offerings and constant reseller interaction, we are helping educate them about available products, while incorporating their feedback to ensure that the program is always relevant,”” said Gonsalves.

Bruce Pearson, Canadian channel sales representative for Seagate Technology LLC, who attended the Toronto Year of the Monkey dinner, said the program supports the Asian community.

“”Tech Data is a great partner and is well-received in the Chinese community and we’re happy to do business with them.””

“”It’s going to give Seagate the opportunity to do business with people we haven’t done business with before,”” said Pearson. He added it gives Seagate “”more visibility in front of the customer and opportunities where they can start using our product.””

Seagate is one of 13 vendors participating in the program, which also includes Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Bizcom Electronics Inc. Seagate is involved in the Build-Your-Own-Bundle and contributed towards the Year of the Monkey dinner and the redecorating contest.

Alok Sarna, vice-president and general manager of Compal Electronics Inc., said he can appreciate Tech Data’s recognition of Chinese culture as his company, Bizcom is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiwan-based Compal, and he himself, is of Asian descent.

“”There’s the culture of business and then there’s the business culture. There’s a recognition of the Chinese community,”” said Sarna. “”The Chinese community plays a huge role in manufacturing and the channel.””

Bizcom, which Sarna established last fall and is partnered with Tech Data Canada, provides system builders with an unbranded laptop that can be customized to meet customer needs. The company is participating in the white book demo unit promotion.

Sarna, who also attended the Year of the Monkey dinner, said the program is different than others out there.

“”We view the program as a recognition of the community of resellers. To me it’s more of a relationship-building program,”” he said. “”The industry is full of programs that are activity related. It’s a recognition of culture, which makes it more relational.””

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