When Chin Jiun How was in college, he was an avid gamer. Like many gamers, he wanted the “ultimate machine” to fit his specific needs.
But at the time, he felt that all mainstream laptops were inefficient and unsuitable for gaming. Furthermore, the majority of laptops are pre-made and mass-produced, thus lacking customizability.
Sure, custom desktop generators were pretty popular at the time. But according to Jiun How, the custom laptop is still missing.
“So I saw the void and decided to fill it,” says Jiun How, “And ILLEGEAR was founded in 2011.”
Since no one else made custom laptops, he enhanced
Although Jiun How has an idea and is very good at it, he doesn’t have any business experience.
But to meet its own specific laptop needs, Jiun How naturally started offering a wide range of options for high performance laptop components like processor, GPUS, RAM, SSD , etc
“I can say that ILLEGEAR is something that first started as a hobby [then] he explained. “The passion for laptop customization rooted in the passion for gaming and its community has truly driven and inspired ILLEGEAR today.”
With Jiun How building its foundation, the custom laptop company is shaped by like-minded people — hardware junkies, PC enthusiasts, heavy-duty gamers and everything in between. between.
Today, the brand also has custom PC build options, although its focus remains on customizing laptops.
Navigating a specialized field, but not a niche
If you are just looking for a laptop to type some documents and send some emails, ILLEGEAR products are probably not for you.
According to the founder, ILLEGEAR’s target demographic is mainly users who want high performance systems. But this doesn’t just refer to gamers like Jiun How.
ILLEGEAR laptops are also said to be great for multimedia content creators, designers and professionals in general.
If you look at the ILLEGEAR website, there is quite a large selection of laptops by category. There are options for moderate gaming, extreme gaming and e-sports, ultra-thin devices, for productivity and for creators.
“These systems are often equipped with the latest and most powerful components for those who require its immense power to meet their heavy requirements,” explains Jiun How. “So it cannot be considered appropriate, as many non-gamers also require high performance systems to perform their tasks.”
On top of that, ILLEGEAR has begun to launch many products aimed at the mass market. Their latest product, ILLEGEAR ATOMIC, is an example of such a product.
According to Jiun How, it is affordable at RM3,299 while still being powerful enough for users, in addition, like other products of the brand, ATOMIC laptop can be further customized in terms of processor, card graphics, RAM, etc.
Compete with the big names
While ILLEGEAR claims to be the first laptop customization brand in Malaysia, there are now larger, more well-known brands that have ventured into the laptop customization business.
For him, however, what sets the homegrown brand apart is that other brands focus on the general public’s needs, while ILLEGEAR offers high performance and a wide range of customizations. more and more extreme.
But there are also many brands in the business of high-performance laptops. Take global names like ASUS’ Republic of Gamers and Dell’s Alienware, for example.
Despite that, Jiun How proudly considers ILLEGEAR their worthy competitor. He also takes great pride in ILLEGEAR’s after-sales service, which he believes is also what makes it stand out from other custom laptop brands.
Based on my own observations, the typical after-sales services of other laptop brands are not common in Malaysia, even in their own premises, which means you have to resort to a third party .
With ILLEGEAR, all aspects of customer service and repairs can be handled locally by employees on the company premises.
“As a result, ILLEGEAR customers can always check the status and progress of their equipment,” he explains.
Prepare for the future
What started out as a one-man operation has now become a company with three showrooms and service centers across Malaysia.
However, it’s not easy. Jiun How constantly faces challenges such as problems with the supply chain of computer components.
To circumvent that, the company uses an approach known as “One-Streaming,” which involves unifying both its upstream and downstream businesses.
An example of this happening is when, in a situation where it is not possible to source products from conventional suppliers, they will source specific components locally and assemble them into their systems. , speed up product delivery.
With these strategies in mind, ILLEGEAR has grown tremendously since its inception, and may be the first domestic laptop and computer brand to go international.
“We are looking to expand before 2024, but for now, we are focusing on red tape and logistics for both sales and after-sales,” said Jiun How.
However, ILLEGEAR hopes to establish overseas showrooms and develop the brand into a well-known brand that Malaysians can be proud of.
- Learn more about ILLEGEAR here.
- Read more articles we have written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured image credit: ILLEGEAR