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ASTRO CORP

Astro Corp

I

Ploughing a different furrow

n the majority of industries, companies of a similar size will be characterised by similar organisational structures. People within the industry and its observers know the identity of the largest players, the medium-sized companies and those which occupy the smaller slots. Industry members derive a degree of comfort and security from this knowledge; it’s all quite cosy. That is until a relative newcomer comes from left of field and challenges the established order and methodology. For many years, the international slots

manufacturing market was dominated by a handful of giants, predominantly located in the New World. Within Europe, the dominance of these brands became challenged by home- grown product, of equally high quality. In Asia, despite some centres of excellence and in spite of an abundance of entertainment technology in other markets, its own slots brands had yet to play a major role on the global stage. By contrast, manufacturers of AWP and low-

stakes product were usually established to meet the needs of a home market, delivering product which appealed to local preferences and conformed to specific regulatory requirements. Several of these manufacturers successfully managed to expand into neighbouring markets. It was against this background that in 1993,

Arden Yang, Astro Corp’s President, launched the company in Taipei, Taiwan. At the very early stages, Astro Corp developed products for the region’s amusement markets and also PCB’s and reel slots for some international customers. Within five years Arden Yang had seen the potential for video technology and totally refocused the business. The company began to release video slot and poker products for the amusement and gaming markets, both within Asia and further afield. Astro Corp

continued to grow at an impressive rate and in 2004 became the first gaming company to publicly trade on

32 JUNE 2010

Taisdaq. The company has also twice made the Forbes Asia’s top 200 companies under a $Billion listing and in both 2005 and 2006 Astro Corp received Deloitte Taiwan Technology Fast 50 and Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific awards for profit growth. Astro Corp has always been content driven and in its early years, this was at odds with the approach of many of its competitors. In CEO Simon Herbert’s words, “Many manufacturers learned quite early on that Content is King, but were faced with the task of re-shaping huge manufacturing driven businesses. “Astro Corp has come from a different

direction and it’s important to understand a little about the conditions prevailing in Taiwan. Digital Media plays a huge part in the economic powerhouse that is Taiwan and the country boasts impressive educational and developmental facilities. Many of the world’s leading digital entertainment providers have invested heavily in facilities in Taiwan in order to take advantage of the phenomenal skills base and strong work ethic which exists. A substantial chunk of the Taiwanese business community lives and breathes digital technology.” From the outset, Astro Corp has sustained a

heavy investment in state-of-the art development facilities with a team to match. In fact, of the company’s 376 employees more than 300 are involved in games development. With the majority of its human resource

directly involved in games development and free from the constraints of a large hardware based manufacturing plant, Astro Corp has focused totally on the needs of its customers. The customer base is substantial, now covering over 50 countries and supported by a network of local distributors. The investment shows

through in the games which have brilliant graphics, exciting themes and a reputation as high earners.

Simon Herbert is in no doubt about the factors to which

Astro Corp’s Simon Herbert

the company can attribute its success: “Firstly we are constantly investing in and developing our people. We have a phenomenal team and Astro Corp is seen as an exciting and prestigious place to work. Secondly, all of our games development is targeted at specific markets. We never produce generic products designed for a number of markets. Our development team is divided into market specific groups who understand player preferences, cultural issues and also any regulatory requirements and constraints for their markets. We always go back to first-base and, where we can, develop relationships with experienced local professionals who can

become part of the development process. Wherever possible, we involve regulators at the product development stage.” Such close attention to detail has been a

factor behind Astro Corp’s success in Italy where the company has successfully capitalised on both the AWP boom and the subsequent introduction of Video Lottery Terminals. A focus on content without legacy hardware issues has meant that Astro’s transition to server-based product has been a natural and painless process. In 2009 Astro Corp became a member of

the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and has a strong presence at key gaming expos around the world. As an illustration, the company will occupy 400 square meters at Macau’s G2E 2010. And what of the future? Simon Herbert is

quietly optimistic: “Despite the global economic downturn we believe that Astro Corp will continue to prosper. We are a highly creative business and we innovate constantly. We have invested heavily in our creative staff and our development and design facilities are second-to-none. However, we never take anything for granted. Our entire organisation is customer centric and the needs of our customers are the fundamental starting point for everything we do.” Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62
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