Giants in surprise merger to forge strong team in region

Arman Danesh

RADIUS and SuperMac, two of the largest providers of high-end colour video and publishing solutions for the Macintosh market, have finalised their merger and have announced the formation of an Asia Pacific division based in Hong Kong.

The merger, which took effect on September 1, is seen by many as a coming together of two fierce competitors to form what may in fact be a much stronger company.

'The merger of Radius and SuperMac is maybe as surprising as the merger of Swire and Jardines Matheson,' said Michael McConnell, SuperMac's president and chief executive officer, and vice-chairman of the new Radius.

According to Mr McConnell, the companies will combine their product lines as well as their engineering operations, allowing the combines to produce more products rather than having two teams work on the same products.

The name Radius has been chosen for the new combined company because the company will be moving into producing cross-platform products for the Windows environment.

'There is no doubt that Chicago will have very good colour capabilities and we believe there will be many customers wanting to have Windows-based desktop publishing systems,' Mr McConnell said.

This process should be enhanced by Apple's upcoming adoption of the PCI bus for its next generation of PowerMacs in 1995. The PCI bus is emerging as the bus architecture of choice on Pentium-based PCs.

Still, the SuperMac name will remain as a brand name and as product updates are announced, similar products from the two companies will be merged into single product lines.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the company hopes to capitalise on what it sees is one of the most dynamic computer markets in the world by establishing a regional office in Hong Kong.

According to Douglas Boake, the company's vice-president for Asia Pacific and president of Radius K. K., the company's wholly-owner subsidiary in Japan, this doesn't change Radius's distribution strategy which rests on an exclusive distributor arrangement.

'When you open an office, it doesn't mean you say good-bye to your partners,' he said. 'We will continue to use [our exclusive distributor strategy].' Radius has appointed Trend Enterprises as their Hong Kong distributor.

For the greater China region, Radius is relying on Hong Kong as the gateway to China, a market which Mr Boake said has the largest growth potential in the region.

While the Mac appears to remain the platform of choice for publishing applications worldwide, Radius is clearly positioning itself to capitalise on the obviously large Intel-based markets in countries like China.

'There is a lot of momentum for the Intel side (in China),' Mr McConnell said. 'We're trying to be agnostic. If Apple is successful in the PRC we will be happy about that, but a safe bet is Microsoft and Intel.'