Asus reconsiders priorities for its Zenfone series, CEO Jerry Shen quits

Asus Zenfone 5z

In what comes as unexpected for fans of Asus, CEO Jerry Shen will be resigning from his post by the end of the year. The decision, as reported by engadget, comes in wake of Asus’ new priorities for its mobile phone division and will see Shen heading to a new AIoT startup. Shen still owns a 30 per cent stake in the company and therefore, still holds value to the company.

Shen has been leading Asus’ mobile division as the CEO for the last 11 years. The company has rolled out some of the most game-changing products under his leadership. Over the years, we have seen the company churning some of its most successful lineup of general consumer-oriented products – the PadFone series, Transformer series, ZenBook series and mighty popular ZenFone series.

However, in the coming days, Asus is looking forward to shifting its priorities from being a general consumer-centric entity to something that completely focuses on power users. The decision comes in the wake of Asus listing a one-time loss of NT$6 billion (about US$190 million) to cover “loss of inventory, royalties, production costs and organisational adjustment expenses,” as quoted by Business Next’s interaction with Shen.

However, Asus is primarily known around the world as a gaming-centric company instead of one that caters to all-rounder consumer goods. Asus’ ROG series of gaming peripherals, including gaming desktops, laptops and accessories, are regarded in high value across the world. Earlier this year, the company took the covers off its ROG Phone, which is one of the few smartphones in the world with dedicated gaming modifications.

At the moment, the position for CEO to Asus will be managed by PC business lead S.Y. Hsu and global customer service lead Samson Hu with effect from January 1st, 2019.

With new priorities set, it will be interesting to see how Asus utilises the upcoming CES 2019 to give us a fair hint of what to expect for the next year. Since the focus will be now towards power users, we could be seeing a lot more of the ROG series devices trickling down to the lower price segments. China’s Xiaomi has already ventured into that territory with POCO (globally known as POCOPHONE), offering the POCO F1 with flagship class internals at the price of a midrange smartphone. Could we see a POCO-rivaling ROG smartphone from Asus in the future? We will have to wait.

As for the Zenfone series, Asus recently launched the Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Max M2 in India with a combination of solid specifications and an attractive price tag. It remains to be seen how Asus’ new direction will fare for consumers who are used to the high-value smartphones from the brand.