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【Exclusive Interview】Corsair Memory: Focusing only on Gaming memory and PSU (Power Supply Unit)


Published Dec.10 2008,09:58 AM (GMT+8)

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Scott Thirlwell, Director APAC of Corsair Memory

The following interview content is extracted from the conversation with Mr. Scott Thirlwell.

DRAMeXchange: Does the bad economy affect Corsair gaming memory product sales strategy?

Scott: The bad economy has affected absolutely every industry and that includes memory.  However, a problem that has plagued the memory industry for more than a year has been an issue of over-supply at the chip level.  The bad economic situation has lowered overall demand somewhat, especially most recently, but unit-wise Corsair has seen significant growth year over year.  It is the memory chip ASP falling 90% the last 2 years which has had the biggest impact from chip makers to module makers to distributors to retailers.  However, end users are very happy.  The chipmakers have all contributed to this problem and are now feeling the pain.

DRAMeXchange: May you share with us about your opinion on Gaming Market?  And do you think the Gaming Market will stand out? And your next step?

Scott: On desktop memory, Corsair established itself first in this high-end gaming and overclocking (OC) market.  When the desktop memory division was first set up 10 years ago, the strategy was to be the leader of gaming and OC, high-performance memory.  To do that Corsair understood that the key was proper R&D and technical expertise and cooperation with industry innovators like Intel.  From the very start we established a large R&D and technical team to invent new high-performance memory technologies and to ensure that Corsair memory is always the fastest, strongest and most durable.  This involves a great amount of effort and investment as well as close relationships with companies like Intel.  Today Corsair has more than 100 people in R&D and technicians to ensure Corsair products are the best. 
An example highlights the memory industry well - Corsair Dominator line of high-performance memory.  Corsair invented this technology.  This is not about looking cool, although it definitely does.  It is about a new cooling technology that integrates the PCB with heatsink technology to remove more heat and be faster and stronger.  This is Corsair technology that we were able to invent because of the large R&D and technical team that has been in place for 10 years.  Other companies in the industry want in gaming but have no idea what the high-performance users require.  Without any expertise, without the R&D and without the technicians, these companies can not invent.  The results are generally poor copies if the Corsair Dominator look but without the cooling technology.  The companies have simply put a cover over the module.  In my eyes, it is a fraud to try to fool the market and is inexcusable. Corsair’s strategy for this market will remain the same today as it was 10 years ago – to be the leader of the high-performance market through innovating and inventing and taking pride in that there is no better product available. 

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DRAMeXchange: Will Corsair change the strategy?

Scott: No, Corsair strategy of focusing on high-performance memory and PSU (Power Supply Unit) will not change.  Changing strategy now in bad times means the original strategy was not a strong one to begin.  Companies trying to change strategy now are ones who will most likely not survive this world-wide economic recession.  I say that as it takes investment and resources to put behind a new strategy and companies doing this in the worst economic recession we have seen in decades are doing so because they are desperate and will not or can not invest the required resources.
We have seen several memory makers change strategy into the high-performance market this year.  I have looked at many of these memory products they have produced and they are simply the same mainstream memory they were producing before with an added cover over the module.  This is not a fundamental change in strategy as these companies are no closer to becoming connected to the high-performance market.

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DRAMeXchange: Please talk about Corsair in China.

Scott: We are excited about China.  Corsair has developed a very strong reputation in China over the last 2 years.  In 2009, we want to be more aggressive in getting Corsair greater visibility as a TOP 3 brand across all of China.  Jevon Yeh in Taipei and Du Han in Beijing are leading the Corsair team across China to ensure we achieve this goal in 2009.  While I can not go into specifics, Corsair has been working to have stronger representation in all the major regions across China for our DRAM, USB and PSU lines.  At the end of 2009, the TOP 3 brands of memory and PSU across China will be very clear and Corsair will be one of them.

DRAMeXchange: What is your expectation for 2009?

Scott: The chip makers have slashed originally planned expansion which will help in years to come and make the memory market enjoyable again.  But in the short-term, someone has to pay the price for this over-supply.  We should see chip makers’ assets sold off at fire-sale prices or even given away and we will see great consolidation.  On the module side, we will certainly see module companies bankrupt and disappear.  I would expect this to unfold the first part of 2009.  Only after this happens can the healing begin.

DRAMeXchange: Do you have any suggestions for other players in DRAM industry?

Scott: In downturns like this, the strong get strong and the weak die.  Understand and focus on company strengths and think of ways to add further value to those strengths.  If module makers want to get into high-performance memory, you must first connect to this market and understand what they want.  And if you do decide to put out a high-performance gaming or OC memory line, innovate or add value is the only way to succeed.