Compaq Computer Corporation has developed a plan to triple sales by the end of the century, an encouraging sign for people in Asia looking to enter or move within the computer industry. By 2000, the US-based company aims to be one of the world's top three computer companies, completing a steady rise from 16th four years ago to fifth today. Compaq's meteoric rise since it was founded just 14 years ago is due largely to a decision in 1991 to reassess its strategy. Philip Leung, vice-president and managing director of Compaq's East Asia operation, said the company decided it needed to branch out beyond personal computers (PCs) to continue to grow and compete. 'In October 1991, growth had begun to plateau and we increasingly felt we were not providing for the masses,' he said. Eckhard Pfeiffer, previously the company's chief in Europe, became the new chief executive and set fresh objectives, including a focus on product technology and a better understanding of the market and customer. New lower-priced products were launched in 1992 and, two years later, Compaq became the top PC company in the world. However, its lower-cost tactic to penetrate new markets caused revenues to level off. 'Therefore, by the first quarter of this year, we started to formulate a new strategy for the next decade,' Mr Leung said. 'We want to become one of the top three computer companies by 2000. To do that, we must grow to a US$40 billion company.' The company is, therefore, moving into the consumer electronics area and has established strategic alliances. 'We need to aim at the combined industry of telecommunications - the Internet, intranet and cellular technology - and consumer electronics and computers,' Mr Leung said. Compaq is the world's largest supplier of desktop and portable PCs and servers. Sales have doubled from $7.19 billion in 1993 to $14.75 billion last year. It sells and supports products in 100 countries through 38,000 marketing partners and employs more than 17,000 people. The public company came to Asia in 1987 when it set up a manufacturing base in Singapore - now a support centre. Two years later, Hong Kong became its Asia-Pacific division headquarters for East Asia, supporting operations in China, Taiwan and South Korea. The 100 staff in its Causeway Bay offices are involved in logistics, operations and finance and act as support for China sales. Mr Leung said the company preferred people with a broad outlook or regional experience as promotion might mean moving within the region. 'Qualifications and experience are still important but more important is what employees can contribute,' he said. 'It is important for employees to know that they will be upwardly mobile - free to advance within the organisation here in Hong Kong, regionally and globally.' The company provides management and employee development programmes and staff can apply for grants of up to US$2,000 annually for external educational courses. Pay is for 13 months and supplemented by profit sharing. Annual leave varies from 12 to 20 days and benefits include provident fund and medical and life insurance.