Nintendo has been busy in recent years, having partnered with multiple businesses to expand the brand’s presence in the SEA region.
Even on the consumer side, Nintendo’s interest in the SEA region was obvious with the opening of regional websites to cater to different countries in the SEA region.
However, it looks like that service is a lot more than just a fancy website with your country’s flag on it. Nintendo has partnered with at least three different distributors in the region, ranging from Maxsoft, who’d done the lion’s share of regional distribution up until now to Singapore-based Convergent Systems and Thailand-based Central Group.
Make no mistake, having more partners in the region is a good thing- because servicing customers is essential to keeping a brand alive, and it’s much easier to do that when the people you work with are actually familiar with that community, rather than an exec in another country.
According to Convergent Systems Regional Product Manager Edwin Teoh, the company had started distributing first party games and accessories, as well as the hardware itself as recently as 8 months ago, with the launch of the Nintendo Switch OLED in the region.
Stores like the Singaporean Lazada and Shopee are also handled by Convergent, marking a good way for Singaporeans to get access to Nintendo’s first party goods, on top of repairs for consoles covered by their warranty.
While Thailand’s Central Group hasn’t responded to request for comment, a glance at their website looks to offer the same deal- they get their own supply of consoles and first-party titles and accessories, and better serve the Thai market.
These include consoles like the basic Nintendo Switch model as well as its OLED counterpart, as well as physical editions for titles like Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl as well as upcoming titles like Mario Strikers Battle League.
They do this online via the Thai version of the Official Nintendo Store– run by their subsidiary, JD Central.
Of course, when it comes to area of coverage, there is still Maxsoft, who is undoubtedly the largest distributor in the SEA region for Nintendo.
Covering The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, Maxsoft has long been the only distributor in the region- their website still describes them as the “sole” distributor for Nintendo products, despite the recent surge in competition.
They also have MMSoft– a subsidiary for handling distribution in Malaysia, which also manages things like the local Shopee and Lazada pages.
Setting Up Base
Obviously, partnering with local distributors is a good sign that Nintendo has its eyes on the SEA region. By partnering with them, Nintendo gets to serve their local audiences without having the need to go through the finance of setting up a HQ in each country.
For consumers, the main perk here is the after sales service: compared to a parallel import console (say, if you bought one imported from Japan) where you’d need to possibly mail it out for repairs, having a local distributor also handle the after sales service means possibly less downtime on waiting for your console to be repaired.
Of course, there’s also the case of the consoles itself- having direct allocations for your country is much better than parallel imports thanks to said warranty, and also a good way to make sure consumers are getting the best price for their products, since they don’t have to worry about retailers jacking up the price of imported consoles.
This doesn’t necessarily mean every company needs its own individual distributor- Maxsoft, for example, has an office in Malaysia, so fixing your Switch doesn’t cost you a trip to Singapore- but the point stands clear, that the increase in partners means Nintendo’s got its eyes on the region.
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