Ex­ports vi­tal for suc­cess of Bio­cera

JoongAng Daily - - Front Page - Steve­jkkim@naver.com

Bio­cera is a 20-year-old business that spe­cial­izes in man­u­fac­tur­ing ce­ramic balls, an­tibac­te­rial agents and pho­to­cat­a­lysts.

It was the first company in the world to be cer­ti­fied by the U.S. Na­tional Sci­ence Foun­da­tion in the ce­ramic ball mar­ket. It also de­vel­oped the Bio­cera wash­ing ball, which was ap­proved by the United States and Ger­many.

A ma­jor dif­fi­culty for Bio­cera is that its prod­ucts have rel­a­tively short life cy­cles and are sen­si­tive to tech­no­log­i­cal change.

Worse, such en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­ucts are not con­sid­ered daily ne­ces­si­ties. Peo­ple tend to stop buy­ing them when they are not do­ing well fi­nan­cially.

For big com­pa­nies, when they de­velop new prod­ucts, it is not that dif­fi­cult to make a foray into new mar­kets and coun­tries.

But for a small business, no mat­ter how in­no­va­tive their prod­ucts are, it is not easy to break into the in­ter­na­tional in­dus­try due to a lack of work­force and bud­get.

Bio­cera asked for ad­vice from the Fed­er­a­tion of Korean In­dus­tries (FKI) in 2012 to get some ideas for mov­ing into mar­kets abroad.

At the time, the company’s over- seas sales made up about 60 per­cent of its to­tal. It needed to fo­cus more of its work­force and re­sources on op­er­at­ing abroad.

The company de­cided to hold reg­u­lar mar­ket­ing meet­ings in or­der to max­i­mize its ef­fect as a company and spent much time an­a­lyz­ing the dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics of con­sumers in var­i­ous re­gions.

Bio­cera learned from how to re­spond to new buy­ers and how to sign new con­tracts from the FKI ad­vi­sor. As a re­sult, it launched two new prod­ucts in Malaysia and other South­east Asian coun­tries.

Since 2012, Bio­cera has made in- roads into 40 coun­tries, adding the Philip­pines and na­tions in the Mid­dle East to its ex­ist­ing U.S. and Euro­pean mar­kets.

The company’s ex­ports have surged 30 per­cent since then.

It has also found 305 do­mes­tic buy­ers.

Bio­cera also learned how to tar­get do­mes­tic pur­chasers based on the FKI’s ad­vice. It now closely an­a­lyzes its prof­itabil­ity on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and looks into the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pand­ing sales.

Based on th­ese ac­com­plish­ments, Bio­cera has set a goal of reach­ing 10 bil­lion won ($9.1 mil­lion) in sales by 2015.

Even though the company has ar­guably been the No. 1 in the biotech field, it has had dif­fi­cul­ties be­cause it only has a limited group of pur­chasers, which is an is­sue that could ham­per fur­ther growth.

What’s worse, Chi­nese ri­vals have be­gun to make sim­i­lar prod­ucts at lower costs.

One chal­leng­ing task for the company, es­pe­cially if it is go­ing to keep work­ing abroad, is to man­age for­eign ex­change risks well.

This is nec­es­sary in a time when the global fi­nan­cial mar­ket is un­cer­tain.

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