BenQ Mobile GmbH & Co. OHG was the mobile communications subsidiary of Taiwanese BenQ Corporation, selling products under the BenQ-Siemens brand.[1] The group, based in Munich, Germany, was formed out of BenQ's acquisition of the then struggling Siemens Mobile group in 2005. The newly formed company won the most iF product design awards in 2006 and also won many design awards in Germany's Red Dot competition.[2] BenQ Mobile failed later that year.[3]

BenQ Mobile
Company typeSubsidiary
PredecessorSiemens Mobile
Founded1 October 2005
Defunct30 January 2007
(BenQ-branded mobile handsets have been produced again since 2008 by BenQ Corporation in Taiwan and Asian markets)
HeadquartersMunich, Germany, Taipei, Taiwan
Key people
Clemens Joos, CEO; Jerry Wang, EVP and CMO; Alex Liou, Head of Corporate Finance; Irwin Chen, Member of the Board
ProductsMobile phones, PDA, Smartphone
BrandsSiemens (until 2006)
BenQ Mobile (until 2006)
BenQ-Siemens (2006-2007)
BenQ (2008-present)
Total assetsUS$775 million
Number of employees
ParentBenQ Corporation
BenQ-Siemens store
BenQ-Siemens EF81

History edit

Siemens Mobile was loss-making and struggling in the market, and the division was then sold to BenQ Corporation in June 2005 to try to turn the business around. As part of the deal, Siemens would pay BenQ at least 250 million euros to get the new venture to a solid start, in return of a 2.5% stake in BenQ.[4] The acquisition was completed on 1 October 2005, with the formation of BenQ Mobile, led by a German CEO, Clemens Joos, and a Taiwanese chairman, Jerry Wang. Joos had already been president of Siemens Mobile since 2004.[5]

Part of the reason why BenQ was chosen by Siemens was the Taiwanese company's interest to keep German locations open - the headquarters in Munich and the manufacturing plants in Kamp-Lintfort and in Bocholt.[4] Other research and development and manufacturing plants were located in Aalborg, Beijing, Suzhou, Ulm (also in Germany), Manaus, Mexicali, Taipei and Wrocław.[6] Before the acquisition BenQ was already making mobile phones – including two Symbian UIQ smartphone models and one Windows Mobile smartphone model.[7][8]

Logo of BenQ-Siemens

On 17 January 2006, the first handsets under the new BenQ-Siemens brand were launched: the EF81,(this model was developed by SIEMENS AG before called SLV140 a slim clamshell phone similar to Motorola RAZR; the S68, a premium light and compact candybar phone targeting business users, this phone is the successor of SP65 (the S65 for some business or government who needs the protection and higher standards privacy for their staffs because the model rid off camera function for protect taking photos of secrets papers or other in-house information of themselves ; and S88, a multimedia device with a 2-megapixel camera.[9][10]

In February 2006, the EF51 model was launched featuring music buttons on the front with a flip-down design that reveals a keypad.[11] BenQ Mobile introduced the BenQ-Siemens P51 in March, a Windows Mobile 5.0 device and the only smartphone the company would release.[12]

Collapse edit

The company ended up making huge losses, with parent BenQ losing $1 billion (€840 million) from the acquisition to September 2006,[13][14][15] and its share price dropping by 45 percent.[16] BenQ Mobile only had a global 2.4% market share as of Q3 2006, demonstrating its failure to turn the business around in its first year.[17] In September, it was announced that its factories in Mexico and Taiwan would halt production.[18]

BenQ Mobile filed for bankruptcy in a Munich court on 29 September 2006, a day after its parent BenQ decided to stop funding the unit.[19] This sparked a debate in Germany over whether BenQ only acquired the Siemens mobile division for its patents and intellectual property, and that it did not intend to continue manufacturing mobile phones in Germany.[20] The bankruptcy caused outrage in Germany over the possible thousands of job losses,[21] with chancellor Angela Merkel having said that Siemens is responsible for the BenQ Mobile (i.e. former Siemens Mobile) employees who are at risk.[20] Siemens set up a 35 million euros fund for the employees.[22] Siemens stopped payment still owed to BenQ related to the original acquisition on 5 October[19][23] and considered taking legal action against BenQ about the future use of the brand and patents,[24] although no claim would be made. Siemens was heavily criticised by some German politicians and labour unions for mismanagement that led to the bankruptcy under subsequent BenQ ownership.[21][25] A BenQ executive said that stopping funds for the Mobile subsidiary and forcing it into insolvency protection was a "really tough decision" and not as easy as "just walking away" as was reported by some media outlets.[19]

2,000 employees were laid off in late October 2006.[26]

A scandal investigation was launched into Siemens's and BenQ's roles in the bankruptcy of BenQ Mobile amid allegations that financial offences were committed.[27] As of March 2007, 13 executives, including Eric Yu, were detained in Taiwan accused of selling their shares in BenQ before the announcement knowing about the bankruptcy filing. Shares in BenQ fell 7% to its lowest level in ten years.[28] BenQ CEO K.Y. Lee was also detained a month later.[29] At the same time Siemens was facing wide allegations in Germany of internal corruption and bribery not necessarily related to BenQ Mobile.[25][30]

After no suitable investors or buyers were found for the business, BenQ Mobile's insolvency administrator, Martin Prager, said on 2 January 2007 that the company would have to shut down.[17] On 30 January the BenQ Mobile factory in Kamp-Lintfort closed. Representatives of the labour union IG Metall bid farewell to the last 165 workers with flowers.[31] The demise of BenQ Mobile caused 3,000 employees to lose their jobs.[32] The company's assets were auctioned off in Hamburg and at eBay in March 2007[33][34][35] and in June.

The losses of 2005 and 2006, wiped out all profits BenQ had made since 1999.[36]

Aftermath edit

Martin Prager launched a 26-million-euro lawsuit against its former parent BenQ in August 2007 on top of 80 million euros already claimed. The lawsuit was partly for BenQ bonus payments promised to BenQ Mobile employees in Germany that were paid by the BenQ Mobile subsidiary.[37][38][34] In July 2008, Prager threatened a multi-million euro lawsuit against Siemens after claiming irregularities were found in the acquisition and that BenQ Mobile was already insolvent as early as May 2006 - a claim first reported by German newspaper Die Welt.[39] A settlement between Prager and Siemens was reached in November 2008.[40]

Former BenQ CEO K. Y. Lee, along with several executives including Eric Yu and Sheaffer Lee, were cleared of their insider trading, embezzlement and forgery charges in August 2009, after a two-year trial.[36]

After the company closed, its former parent company, BenQ, launched five new phones (produced in Asia) under the BenQ-Siemens brand during 2007 (the license still ran for another four years). These include the A53 (Taiwan only), E52, C31, C32 and SF71 –[41][42] briefly continuing the lifespan of the BenQ-Siemens brand. In August 2007, BenQ announced that it would resume production of mobile devices using its own "BenQ" brand, coming with the announcements of the BenQ E72, M7 and T51 models that would initially launch in Taiwan.[43] BenQ started making Android devices from 2013.[44]

List of mobile phones edit

BenQ-Siemens S68
BenQ-Siemens EF51
BenQ-Siemens E71

Sponsorships edit

BenQ sponsored the Real Madrid CF football club following the signing of a four year deal.[45] The BenQ-Siemens name appeared on the shirts of Real Madrid in the 2006-2007 season, but the company's collapse meant that the sponsorship only lasted one season.[46]

References edit

  1. ^ "BenQ-Siemens phone-maker files for insolvency protection". HEXUS. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  2. ^ "BenQ Wins 17 Prestigious 2006 iF Design Awards | BenQ Nordic". Archived from the original on 4 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Editorial: BenQ\'s failure a cautionary tale - Taipei Times". 2 October 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Siemens seals fate of its mobile communications arm". HEXUS. 24 July 2005. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  5. ^ Nystedt, Dan (3 October 2005). "New BenQ, Siemens mobile phone company opens". InfoWorld. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  6. ^ "BenQ Corporation unveils new consumer brand BenQ-Siemens". Al Bawaba. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  7. ^ "BenQ licenses Symbian OS for Smartphones | BenQ South Africa". Archived from the original on 4 November 2018.
  8. ^ Smith, Tony (31 January 2006). "BenQ ships P50 Wi-Fi smart phone". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  9. ^ Smith, Tony (17 January 2006). "BenQ launches first BenQ-Siemens handsets". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  10. ^ "BenQ-Siemens Brand Launched - Mobile Gazette - Mobile Phone News". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  11. ^ "BenQ-Siemens EF51 puts music front and center". Engadget. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  12. ^ Gohring, Nancy (8 March 2006). "BenQ's new phones include Windows Mobile 5.0 PDA". InfoWorld. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Meetings fail to save BenQ Mobile". 2 January 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019 – via
  14. ^ "BenQ estimates a loss of US$1.1 billion on phones - Taipei Times". 4 October 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  15. ^ "BenQ pulls the plug on its German mobile division". Engadget. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Timeline: BenQ's mobile handset struggles". Financial Times. 21 September 2006. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b "With no willing buyers, BenQ will close its doors - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. 2 January 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  18. ^ "BenQ Mobile denies Germany closure". Financial Times. 20 September 2006. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  19. ^ a b c Nystedt, Dan (3 October 2006). "BenQ blames management for $1B loss at mobile unit". Network World. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b Welle (, Deutsche. "Siemens the Fall Guy in BenQ Insolvency Scandal - DW - 02.10.2006". DW.COM. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Ex-Siemens Subsidiary Flops: BenQ Bankruptcy Causes Furor". Der Spiegel. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019 – via Spiegel Online.
  22. ^ "Press Releases". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  23. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "Siemens Stops Payment to BenQ in Taiwan - DW - 05.10.2006". DW.COM. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  24. ^ "BenQ raises rescue estimate". Financial Times. 4 October 2006. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  25. ^ a b Welle (, Deutsche. "Siemens Chief Promises Full Explanation of Bribery Scandal - DW - 25.01.2007". DW.COM. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  26. ^ "BenQ has 4th straight loss on costs for German unit - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  27. ^ "German prosecutors probing BenQ Mobile's bankruptcy". Engadget. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  28. ^ "BenQ faces insider trading probe as CFO gets locked up". Engadget. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  29. ^ " closure". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  30. ^ "A Swamp of Bribes: Siemens Forced to Battle Internal Corruption". Der Spiegel. 28 November 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2019 – via Spiegel Online.
  31. ^ "heise online - Production of BenQ Mobile handsets ends in Kamp-Lintfort". 6 March 2007. Archived from the original on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  32. ^ Libbenga, Jan (7 July 2008). "BenQ administrator threatens to sue Siemens". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  33. ^ Williams, Christopher (26 February 2007). "BenQ Mobile dismembered". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  34. ^ a b "BenQ-Siemens to be auctioned". 5 March 2007.
  35. ^ Staff, C. I. O. (26 February 2007). "BenQ Mobile to Be Divided and Sold". CIO. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  36. ^ a b Forbes Staff (26 August 2009). "Ex-BenQ CEO K.Y. Lee Cleared Of Insider Trading Charges". Forbes. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Insolvency administrator sues BenQ for 26 mln euro". Reuters. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019 – via
  38. ^ "Bankrupt BenQ Mobile hits parent BenQ with third lawsuit". Engadget. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  39. ^ "BenQ administrator threatens to sue Siemens • The Register". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Press Releases". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  41. ^ "BenQ Siemens E52 and C31 - Mobile Gazette - Mobile Phone News". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  42. ^ White, Charlie (13 April 2007). "BenQ Siemens SF71 Joins in the Shiny Clamshell Fun". Gizmodo. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  43. ^ "Последние толефоны с надписью "BenQ-Siemens" / The last mobiles, carrying "BenQ-Siemens" logo - 23 Июня 2007 - Клуб фанатов BenQ-Siemens E71/EL71". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  44. ^ "BenQ rejoins the smartphone market with two tepid Android models". 2 December 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  45. ^ "Joint BenQ Brands To Appear On Real Madrid Jerseys". 8 November 2005. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  46. ^ "REAL MADRID SET FOR NEW SPONSORSHIP". SportBusiness. 24 January 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2023.

External links edit