By Emma Elebeke
THE sales and use of adulterated technology devices, especially desktops, laptops and notebooks, have become source of worry to concerned Nigerians. This development has caused loss of income to makers, users and the industry. In this interview, the Managing Director of Blueshield Technologies, Mr. Chidiebere Ugwu bared his mind on the efforts of the HP computers to reduce the market volume of pirated products to an insignificant level. Excerpts:
WITH the increasing concern for piracy in the market, how do you go about sourcing your products?
Well, we make sure that we source our products from the right sources and genuine manufacturers. The essence of that is to make sure that whenever a customer buys a products from us, he buys the original so that they can get the desired value for their money, not just value for money but for other accrued benefits derivable in using original products.
What are your major constraints in the fight against piracy?
One thing I know is that it pays more doing the right thing because we want customers to get value for their money. This makes us talk more, go extra miles in enlightenment campaign which cost more, all in a bid to convince customers to buy genuine brands and to warn them on the dangers involved in buying pirated products.
What would you say has been the impact of your partnership with HP in the campaign?
With HP involvement, I can tell you that the fortunes of pirates has nosedived. With HP involvement, dealers on these technology products have understood better and why we must insist on goods directly from manufacturers or their accredited distributors. Now, we know better that instead of traveling abroad and transferring money to order goods, we can now buy the same goods locally here from the same companies.
The partnership has reduced customers fear of piracy and boosted the confidence level. I’m happy that HP has not rested in this campaign. Every day, they try to come up with a new strategy to fight piracy. We now have what is called Hologram. The technology was designed in such a way that no fraudster has been able to break into it. It is a kind of technology where a secret code is sent to HP data centre for confirmation of the authenticity of a particular product. We also have learnt other secret codes like the expiry date of a cartridge in a printer.
With this technology, I can say that the volume of sales has increased from 30% to 70% and both dealers and customers are now happy using with authentic products. Again, another strategy initiated by HP is the identification of products’ batch number on the content and the packaging. This is one easy way of discovering whether a product is fake or original. The important thing is that HP has a website, where people can go and enquire the genuineness of any products. Also, from time to time, it sends surveillance team to our shops to monitor compliance with standards. This to a great extent discourage people who ordinarily would have want o engage in adulterated products refrain from doing so.
How do you get all these message across to your customers?
We use different kinds of communication channels to send the message across to our customers including twitter, facebook, google, newspaper, radio, roadshow and hand bills among others.
What are the likely implications of buying adulterated product?
The idea of buying bad products should be condemned. Counterfeiting itself is wrong both morally and economically. It does not pay when you use your money to buy something and you can’t get value in return. It is a painful experience.
Another disaster about patronizing pirated products is that anything printed with them does not last. It wears out over time. At the end, the buyer will not get quality output and value for money. On our side, pirated products affect us economically.