Emma Ou is under no illusion about the popularity of her brand, justifiably too when you consider ASUS is a global leader in gaming and consumer notebooks.
This year, for the fifth time, the company was recognised by Fortune as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies, named the Best Laptop Brand 2020 and just recently the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 was named the Finest Gaming Laptop in Australia by Best Gaming Pro.
As the Singapore and ANZ Country Manager of Sydney-based ASUS, Emma maintains the numerous accolades the company has been showered with is nothing short of what’s expected from it, let alone deserved.
“ASUS is undoubtedly the world’s most popular brand in the gaming industry,” she reflects. “We work closely with the gaming community, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible and striving to deliver leading products and technology in our commitment to create the world’s best gaming experience. In 2006, for example, we launched the Republic of Gamers (ROG), setting new industry standards in creating innovative, hardcore gaming gear that empowers gamers and enthusiasts everywhere.”
While technological jargon rolls easily of Emma’s tongue, she’s the first to admit she’s actually “not a big techie”. In fact, she left China’s University of Soochow with a bachelor’s in Chinese literature and then launched a successful career in marketing and communications.
“It’s true, working in technology isn’t the textbook career choice from that degree,” she laughs. “But I worked part-time for Oracle during my studies and I must have done something right because the marketing director offered me a full-time role after graduation. It wasn’t expected, but Oracle is such a huge and respected brand, I couldn’t really say no.
“After Oracle, I joined Ogilvy, handling marketing, PR and events for a number of high-profile technology clients, including Dell, AMD, Lenovo, Nvidia and Sony and realised I had a natural passion for the IT industry.”
After a few years at Ogilvy learning the market dynamics of the IT industry, Emma joined Dell and then Samsung as the company’s product manager in Taiwan before joining ASUS in Singapore in 2014.
Emma credits her background in the arts to giving her a greater understanding of people and helping her to communicate more effectively and to work in collaboration. She also learned to think critically and be creative and positive in her approach to any problem, a skill she applies to innovation, a “very strong word” she believes should be validated by a real need to benefit consumers.
“There has to be a reason, even logic, behind any creative advance,” she says.
Considering there are an estimated 2.7 billion gamers today globally, 1.5 billion in the Asia–Pacific Region alone, the reasoning behind the launch of ROG was clearly spot on. ROG gaming laptops are rated number one across multiple countries and the emergence of the ROG ScreenPad Plus, a secondary touchscreen for multitasking that brings together gaming, streaming, working and chatting in one portable device, has embodied the company’s ruthless drive for excellence.
Emma says ASUS’s award of Best Laptop Brand 2020, by Laptop Mag, was also testament to the company’s determination to take a punt in development and offer something new.
“Looking through the scorecard, there was a lot of reference about our key principles, which was really pleasing to see, because it takes courage to take risks with certain features and designs, such as intelligent cooling with liquid metal or ErgoLift hinge technology.”
ASUS has been accepted well by the Australian and New Zealand consumers, a market Emma believes is always willing to experiment with different brands, and is why ASUS pours effort into its digital platforms wanting to educate customers before they purchase.
“They are great motivators, in fact, for us to continue to develop, innovative and improve the quality of our products while remaining competitive. Consumers typically do a lot of research before purchasing, reading online reviews and comparisons,” she explains.
“Our consumer products have always performed strongly. Our ZenBook Pro Duo is quite popular with the tech enthusiasts due to its power, uncompromising performance and ScreenPad Plus, a revolutionary secondary full-width touchscreen. And the VivoBook S15 has been a game-changer in its category and is well received by the younger demographic, thanks to its bold design and unique colours, and being lightweight.”
In September, ROG partnered with IKEA to develop a new range of affordable gaming furniture and accessories to be launched next year, while ASUS launched its Commercial range in India, including notebooks and desktops and mobile workstations targeted for business use.
“Entering a new market is always a little scary, but the business and education sectors are enjoying a number of the key features available within the range, such as 24-hour battery life and AI noise-cancellation technology for undisturbed video calls. Our ExpertBook B9 especially has been very well received with amazing reviews.”
Emma believes the company’s incredible culture is key to its innovative success, listing the Zephyrus Duo 15 with its dual screen, the ROG Phone 3 with its “monster” power and battery life and the super lightweight ExpertBook B9400 with its 24-hour battery life as the company’s top three most innovative products at the moment.
“We have worked hard to establish an environment where people feel they can flourish by being themselves,” Emma says. “It’s imperative that we allow people to innovate and speak their mind, and be their support when needed. There is no point in hiring talent and then trying to pigeonhole them into something they’re not and consequently stifling their talent and creativity.”