Turk­ish de­light at China’s fas­ci­na­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS COMPANIES - By LIU LU li­ulu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Re­flect­ing some of the set­tings on its prod­ucts, multi­na­tional home ap­pli­ance maker Beko is be­ing par­tic­u­larly se­lec­tive about how it caters to the Chi­nese mar­ket.

Press­ing the right but­tons to sat­isfy par­tic­u­lar peo­ple’s wishes is more im­por­tant to sales suc­cess, it be­lieves, than meet­ing nu­mer­i­cal de­mand through ba­sic prod­ucts and prices.

With the con­tin­u­ing rise of Chi­nese peo­ple’s dis­pos­able in­come, Beko and all of its com­peti­tors see China as an im­por­tant bat­tle­ground in their global mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

For Is­tan­bul-based Beko, pro­mot­ing brand aware­ness is the top pri­or­ity in gain­ing a foothold in this highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

Founded in 1955, the white goods man­u­fac­turer says it has sold its prod­ucts to 440 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide and its prod­ucts have been sold in more than 100 coun­tries. It sells more than 8.5 mil­lion home ap­pli­ances a year. In Bri­tain alone, Beko had sales rev­enue of 340 mil­lion pounds ($557 mil­lion) last year, up from 319 mil­lion pounds in 2011. The com­pany had 17 per­cent of the British white goods mar­ket last year.

It is now striv­ing to seize a larger mar­ket share in China by of­fer­ing peo­ple a wider va­ri­ety of smart tech­nolo­gies and user-friendly prod­ucts, says Ayse Topcu, Beko’s global mar­ket­ing direc­tor.

“We are a grow­ing com­pany and have a great global vi­sion, so we are al­ways search­ing and look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties in emerg­ing mar­kets,” Topcu says.

“China is a place we can­not miss, be­cause we re­gard it as the most im­por­tant coun­try in emerg­ing mar­kets.”

The com­pany, one of the mar­ket lead­ers in Europe, en­tered China in 2006. Three years later, it ac­quired a wash­ing ma­chine fac­tory in Changzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, which can pro­duce 200,000 front- load­ing wash­ing ma­chines a year, some for ex­port.

“As a multi­na­tional com­pany, we are look­ing at China as the key mar­ket to con­tinue our global ex­pan­sion,” says Beko’s gen­eral man­ager for China, Gi­ulio Am­brosi.

“We have achieved out­stand­ing re­sults in Europe and a va­ri­ety of other mar­kets within a very short time­frame. Our next log­i­cal step is to achieve the same am­bi­tious ob­jec­tives here in China.

“Our busi­ness in China has in­creased con­sis­tently by more than 50 per­cent a year over the past sev­eral years.

“As a per­cent­age of our over­all turnover, the China com­po­nent is still lim­ited, but our long-term ex­pan­sion plans tar­get growth there at a faster pace than that of the com­pany as a whole.”

He says it is hard work for for­eign brands to de­velop in China. Beko has spent a lot of time in mar­ket re­search to find out about China’s com­pli­cated mar­ket con­di­tions.

Com­pared with peo­ple in Europe, Am­brosi says, Chi­nese de­mand is con­stantly evolv­ing, which re­quires do­mes­tic ap­pli­ance and con­sumer elec­tron­ics com­pa­nies to keep abreast of chang­ing trends.

“Each mar­ket has its own pe­cu­liar­i­ties. China is the most dy­namic of all, the one where the most change has oc­curred in re­cent years and the one where we ex­pect most change to con­tinue to take place.”

In China, Beko faces com­pe­ti­tion not only from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies but also strong lo­cal elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ance mak­ers.

Am­brosi says his com­pany needs to greatly pro­mote its brand vis­i­bil­ity as well as cul­ti­vate its own com­pet­i­tive edge to sur­vive the fierce com­pe­ti­tion in China.

“We are well aware how over­crowded the Chi­nese mar­ket is and that peo­ple are over­whelmed with all sorts of mes­sag­ing. But we will not pur­sue mar­ket share by low­er­ing prices,” Am­brosi says.

Beko is not an en­try-level brand, he says. It is pitched at the mid- to high-end mar­ket in China, with tar­get buy­ers it calls the “smart gen­er­a­tion” — peo­ple who would like to pur­chase mod­ern, in­no­va­tive and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly elec­tronic goods.

Tak­ing Chi­nese habits into con­sid­er­a­tion, Beko has adapted de­signs and in­tro­duced tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions to com­ply with the lat­est and most strin­gent en­ergy stan­dards re­cently im­ple­mented in China.

Last year, one of Beko’s three-door re­frig­er­a­tors was given an “In­no­va­tive Prod­uct” award by the China Household Elec­tric Ap­pli­ance Re­search In­sti­tute be­cause of its abil­ity to store rice with­out preventing the loss of taste.

This year, the same award went to its new line of wash­ing ma­chines in China, the EcoMore Pre­mium se­ries, for hav­ing dif­fer­ent sea­sonal wash­ing pro­grams for spring and sum­mer cloth­ing and fall and win­ter cloth­ing.

In ad­di­tion to tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions, of­fer­ing qual­ity at much lower prices is also part of the se­cret of the com­pany’s suc­cess in the com­pet­i­tive Chi­nese mar­ket. Many of its high-end prod­ucts in­cor­po­rat­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies cost less than 3,000 yuan, which for the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple is no doubt at­trac­tive when they con­sider prod­ucts by the likes of Ger­many’s Siemens, Ja­pan’s Pana­sonic and China’s Haier Group.

“We look at the com­pet­i­tive land­scape in great de­tail,” Am­brosi says. “But we are much more fo­cused on our tar­get con­sumers. We are con­fi­dent that if we ded­i­cate our­selves to lis­ten­ing to them and con­tinue to care about them, we will have an ad­van­tage over other prod­ucts on the mar­ket.”

Am­brosi says he is con­fi­dent in the Chi­nese mar­ket, but his com­pany will not ex­pand blindly. It will de­vote it­self to op­ti­miz­ing dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels and build­ing an af­ter-sales ser­vice net­work.

The com­pany has also made spe­cific plans for a select num­ber of smaller Chi­nese cities through which to ex­pand its pen­e­tra­tion. It has set up sales points in Sichuan, Liaon­ing and Zhe­jiang prov­inces.

“It is part of our dis­tri­bu­tion ex­pan­sion strat­egy that re­lies on close col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal trade cus­tomers and distrib­u­tors,” he adds. “At the same time, our mar­ket­ing ef­forts will be very much aligned with this plan in or­der to max­i­mize our ef­fec­tive­ness in those spe­cific mar­kets.

“Over­all, we are still a rel­a­tively small player com­pared with ear­lier en­trants in the Chi­nese mar­ket, but we are am­bi­tious and com­mit­ted to suc­ceed in the long run.”

Beko re­frig­er­a­tors on dis­play in Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince. The Turk­ish home ap­pli­ance maker be­lieves that sat­is­fy­ing par­tic­u­lar buy­ers’ wishes is im­por­tant to sales suc­cess.

Gi­ulio Am­brosi, Beko’s gen­eral man­ager for China. Right: Beko’s wash­ing ma­chine pro­duc­tion line in Changzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.