“India is a market that looks for cost-efficient products”

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Pico Technology is a leading manufacturer of PC based oscilloscopes for industrial applications. In conversation with Baishakhi Dutta, senior business journalist at Electronics Bazaar, Sui Li, VP-Asia Pacific sales, Pico Technology, talks about the importance of the Indian market for the company’s business.

EB: What are your views on the India market?

India’s economy is growing fast and so is its electronics industry. It’s a complex and dynamic market for the test and measurement business, because there are many multinational companies and local manufacturers, as well as research institutes and universities present at the same time.

EB: What potential do you see for your products in India?

We are into manufacturing oscilloscopes but our offerings are different from the traditional benchtop versions. Our models are much smaller, easier to use and cost efficient. India is a market that looks for cost-efficient products. So, from that standpoint, this is a very promising market for Pico’s products.

EB: Are you currently doing business in India?

Our company is headquartered in UK. But we have set up our Asia-Pacific team in Shanghai. We have been doing business here for quite a long time.

We have been serving Indian customers through our distribution partners for more than a decade. We have a broad range of users who are enjoying the value of all Pico products, including our high-end sampling oscilloscope.

EB: How has your business fared in India over the recent years?

By upgrading our distribution channels in India, we have doubled our India business within one year. This happened in the last fiscal year.

EB: Which are the top three countries that you export to?

Globally, our major business comes from Europe and USA. In Asia, we ship most of our products to China, Japan and Korea. Having said that, we’ve also been enjoying fast growth in India and Southeast Asia. Our strategic plan is to further grow our business in India and Southeast Asia in the next three years. I am confident that India will soon become one of our biggest markets in the world.

EB: What challenges do you face while doing business in India?

While the market potential is huge, turning the opportunities into real business is challenging. We are still learning about this market, given its level of diversity and complexity. One of the challenges is in helping potential customers see the unique value of our innovative approach. We offer the functions of traditional benchtop instruments, but with additional value. To efficiently convey the value message and overcome the bias against PC based instruments is a major challenge.

Cost is another challenge. Engineers are always looking for solutions that have the leading technology and, at the same time, are cost efficient. The Indian market, particularly, is very cost-sensitive. But this is also a good opportunity for us – Pico products are more cost-efficient not only because of their price, but also because of their comprehensive range of functions, the worry-free five-year warranty, and a lifetime of free software upgrades.

It would certainly help if the tender process for government projects was simplified and moved faster. Personally, I find the process to be complicated and believe that it needs to be simpler to help global players access the vast pool of opportunities that India is offering.

EB: How do you promote your products in India?

The advantage in the Indian market is that English is a very dominant professional language. So, by using our global corporate marketing resources, we get to connect with a lot of people from India on various platforms, which helps us to promote our products in the Indian market. Apart from that, we have dedicated local partners in India who are working hand in hand with us to help promote our brand in the country.

So we promote our products in India in multiple ways—through our distribution partners, through our company website, and through our regional teams.

EB: How many local partners do you have in India now?

We currently have six local partners who are directly serving customers. They are all in the electronic instruments industry, know the market and the technologies well, and have earned a good reputation among the customers. We also have two global e-commerce partners doing business in India.

EB: Are you seeking to further increase your presence in India?

Right now, I am not looking for more distributors in India and would prefer upgrading our distributors’ efficiency and performance. My distributors should be able to sell more products in the Indian market. There are a lot of distributors whose capability is limited or whose focus is shifting due to some strategic reasons. Keeping that in mind, we look forward to getting more capable distributors who can replace them.

As we keep growing, we may expand our distribution channel, or build our own support team in India, depending on how the business goes.

EB: What type of distributors are you looking for? Any specific requirements?

Like all other companies, I also want my distributors to know the Indian test and measurement industry well enough. Our strength is the oscilloscopes market; hence, I want my distributors to have a clear vision of that market so that they can promote our products in it.

Our ideal partners should be experts in the T&M business, technology and applications. But more important is that they share our vision of the growing trends of PC based instruments, and believe in Pico’s value addition to the Indian customers.

EB: Are you planning to set up your office in India?

It’s an option for us, though we don’t have an immediate plan to do so yet. As time progresses, we may build our sales support infrastructure in India. But that would be more to support our customers and partners.

But in the future, when our business really grows and it will no longer be possible for us to support our local customers through distributors, we might open an office in India. This is just a plan as of now and its execution will take time.

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