Well-known Chinese OEM Colorful (aka Chaintech) recently announced that it will release a new Z170 motherboard in the US. Curious about the company’s plans for re-entering the U.S. Market, we went to the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China to find out more.
Colorful will leverage Amazon and eBay storefronts operated directly by the company. This is a move we have seen several other OEMs make, and it's attractive for them because it allows them to bypass third-party retailers and increase profit margins on individual sales.
Colorful will lead off with its iGame Z170 YMIR-G motherboard and follow it up with the iGame Z170 YMIR-X, which is already available in China. The company is targeting gamers and overclockers first and foremost, which is why it is starting off with Z170 motherboards. We may see customized variants of these boards with gaming themes, as well.
There is already a customized iGame Z170 YMIR-X board that is exclusive to the Chinese market and targets esports fans. Colorful is looking to do something similar in North America, but this is still a ways off. The company expects to have Z270 motherboards sometime in October, which it will also release in the U.S.
Over time, the storefront will grow to include SSD and Nvidia GPU products, as well. Colorful currently produces AMD-based products in China, and it also sold them in the United States years ago. The company's current plan is to focus on Intel and Nvidia products in the US, but it may launch AMD products in North America at a later date.
It's hard to say if there would ever be a better time for Colorful to try and break back into the U.S. market. Over the last year, we have seen companies struggle to maintain adequate stocks of the latest Intel Skylake and Nvidia Pascal hardware. Retailers frequently sell out of stock for these items, and as a result, consumers are suffering increased prices and significant difficulties getting ahold of popular components.
Ordinarily, Colorful would have a hard time getting system builders that aren’t familiar with its brand to take a chance on its products. Tech enthusiasts tend to stick to brands they are familiar with and trust to be reliable, and building a reputation takes time.
Colorful’s best chance to gain a foothold in the U.S. market is by taking advantage of its competitors’ inability to keep parts in stock. Faced with scarcity, people become more willing to take a chance on products from a lesser-known brand.
Of course, this will help Colorful only if the company can maintain adequate stocks of its own products in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, the company admitted it was facing difficulties coping with the demands of Pascal GPUs in its native market, which raises the question as to whether the company can handle the additional demand of U.S. orders.
The first Colorful products will enter the U.S. sometime in Q4.