Comtrade Electronics USA
Business: Computer distributor
Location: City of Industry
Percentage Growth: 212
Comtrade Electronics USA’s slogan says it sells “lightning-fast computers in a flash.”
That has been key to its 212 percent revenue growth between 1994 and 1996, during which time it has taken its place among the 10 largest computer mail-order companies in the United States, said General Manager Jonathan Wang.
“Efficiency is very important in this business,” Wang said. “Large computer companies usually have a waiting period of at least two weeks, but we’re able to turn an order around in a week. Our company is smaller, our flexibility is much higher.”
Comtrade targets the end user individuals and small to mid-sized companies by promising quality and know-how on everything from multimedia systems to notebook computers with CD-ROM drives.
It buys components from a variety of manufacturers and then assembles them into products that it sells under the Comtrade name via mail order.
“Computer companies don’t make everything on their own; they have suppliers,” said Wang. “It comes down to how to choose the right configuration, the right components to put together for the best performance.”
Comtrade’s know-how has earned it an “Editor’s Choice” award from PC Magazine and “Best Buy” awards from PC World and PC Computing magazines. A review in PC Magazine’s June issue called Comtrade’s “Lightning” personal computer “a clear winner.”
Such reviews are important in the competitive world of mail-order computer sales, where many companies compete largely on price.
“Some just use the cheapest components so they can sell at the lowest price,” Wang said. “They just want to grab the business. They don’t care about warranties it’s hit and run.”
Comtrade uses only well-known, brand-name components from companies that stand behind their products, Wang said.
Its customers include the city of Hermosa Beach, UCLA, Florida State University, the U.S. Navy and Air Force, and even some users in the Mariana Islands, a group of islands in the West Pacific.
Comtrade has 105 employees and its president is Christopher Luke.