Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2010 (Revised March 2010)

Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past

by Willy C. Shih, Ho Howard Yu and Hung-Chang Chiu

Abstract

What happens when an original design manufacturer (ODM) firm tries to transform itself into a branded goods seller? The case traces the evolution of ASUSTeK from a motherboard supplier, to an ODM of desktop and notebook PCs, through its split into three companies that separately pursue the branded business, ODM, and contract manufacturing. Chairman Jonney Shih has to not only confront the challenges of brand building, but he must also build new organizational capabilities in ASUSTeK, while Pegatron struggles to win business from ASUSTeK's former customers and now competitors. The case offers an opportunity to apply the lens of disruptive innovations to a discussion of outsourcing, examining the consequences for firms like HP and Dell that have outsourced most of their computer product design to ODM firms like ASUSTeK, only to watch them morph into competitors. Students can also examine how organizational resources, processes, and values can shape or limit its ability to move into new areas.

Keywords: Change Management; Transformation; Disruptive Innovation; Brands and Branding; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Competitive Strategy; Computer Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Taiwan;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C., Ho Howard Yu, and Hung-Chang Chiu. "Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past." Harvard Business School Case 610-041, January 2010. (Revised March 2010.)