TP-LINK Canada investing to grow channel presence


Mark Macaulay, Senior Director of Sales at TP-LINK Canada

By Mark Cox

Chinese networking vendor TP-LINK has a strong global presence, but is a relative newcomer to the lucrative American and Canadian markets in North America. TP-LINK has, however, been ramping up its presence in both these countries, to offer SMBs products of the quality customers expect at a lower price. And they are doing this through a 100% channel strategy.

“We are a global company in 120 countries around the world, doing north of two billion a year and growing very rapidly, with a focus on the SOHO and SMB markets,” said Mark Macaulay, Senior Director of Sales at TP-LINK Canada. “IDC says we have over 40% market share in the wireless LAN space.”

Macaulay said TP-LINK’s go-to-market strategy is a little different in each country, although the one constant in all is that they are 100% channel.

“In the UK and Brazil, we are number one in share, and we are number two in Germany,” he said. “Canada and the US, we came to last, and are considered up and comers here. We are now building out our team in Canada.”

Macaulay said that initially, a lot of the brand building in Canada was done out of China, with limited success, and that they are now investing in Canadian-based staff to improve results.

“When you sell to the SMB space, you need to be working closely with VAR-type partners, and we didn’t have the staff to go over that kind of market,” he said. “We have hired sales and marketing people to do that. We want to grow in that space and we have invested in head count to do it.”

As a latecomer in North America into a market segment crowded with established vendors who make good products, and who have established channel relationships of their own, TP-LINK faces formidable challenges. However, Macaulay said they bring differentiation that will appeal to both customers and partners.

“We offer industry-leading value to the market, with exceptional price performance,” he said. “Our products are equal to the specs of competitors or superior, and are at a lower price. It’s a value play in the marketplace.”

A big part of this is the ability to sell for less than other vendors in the space.

“We have a cost advantage over competitors because we have control over our entire manufacturing process,” Macaulay said. “We didn’t outsource it, and it’s a competitive advantage in the marketplace today. It lets us sell 20% below the competition for the same features.”

At the same time, Macaulay stressed that TP-LINK isn’t competing solely on price.

“We invest 8% of annual sales in R&D,” he said. “We are comfortable our technology is solid and capable.”

Macaulay also said that their low prices don’t come at the cost of partner margins.

“For the SOHO-SMB segment, we have good margin percentage as well as value leadership,” he said. “We also reward organizations that make a commitment to us. We launched a reseller program earlier this year, with four tiers, based on a commitment of sales to us and revenue, and we provide marketing funds, tools, and a dedicated sales team.”

This week, TP-LINK made its latest product release in Canada and the U.S., the Archer C2 – AC750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi product with fast data transfer rates of up to 733Mbps of total available bandwidth, utilizing simultaneous 5GHz 433Mbps and 2.4GHz 300Mbps connections. It also lists at a rock bottom price of $CDN 69.99.

Macaulay said that while this router is mainly a retail channel play, VARs are selling it as well.

“We also have dedicated SMB commercial SKUs you will see more of going forward, including some that are soon to be announced,” he said.

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