The most effective way to gain a foothold in a market like India is to establish a strong distribution channel here. Whittaker Cheng, assistant manager, marketing and technical support, Minmax, talks to Baishakhi Dutta about the organisation’s growth strategy. Excerpts follow…
EB: What are your views on the current state of the Indian market?
India’s high-tech industry is developing rapidly, while its basic industry accounts for 30 per cent of the country’s GDP. In order to integrate industries and smart cities, the Indian government has strengthened its infrastructure and has resorted to a number of economic policies to attract foreign investments in recent years.
Besides, the country has a large population, with the number under 35 relatively higher compared to other countries. The government has started rewarding innovative R&D while fostering new enterprises at the same time. It is eager to train more young people to get into the market. A combination of all these factors has made India one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the world.
EB: What potential do you see for your products in India?
Minmax products have been divided into four major markets. General industrial products account for 50 per cent of the company’s turnover. In India, because of the advanced developments in the industrial and IT sectors, the demand for power modules is increasing. These modules save time while designing the circuit, and bring the value of the engineer into full play on the final product.
A Taiwanese consulting firm predicts that India will become the world’s second-largest economy in the future. Hence, we have considerable expectations and confidence that our products will do well in the Indian market.
EB: How long have you been doing business with Indian companies?
We have been doing business with Indian companies for nearly 20 years now. We have many customers in the Indian market who are either systems vendors or equipment manufacturers. Minmax has focused on the railway market in recent years. We have been working with a well-known Indian railway system company for a long time and winning accolades for our performance.
EB: What are the major application areas of Minmax’s products?
Due to the high reliability and efficiency of Minmax products, our products are used in aerospace and defence, electrical machinery, smart manufacturing, renewable energy, medical equipment and electric vehicle charging.
EB: How has business in India been for you in recent years?
We have devoted a lot of effort to the Indian market for many years. At first it was very difficult to communicate with every customer due to India’s vast ethnic diversity. Also, Minmax did not have any local distributors, so we could not solve the customer’s problem immediately. But now we have reliable distributors and a technical support team in India to solve problems. Hence our performance has improved, and we have been growing at around 25 per cent on a year by year basis.
Our Indian customers are satisfied with the stable quality and the after sales service that we provide. In fact, many of them have developed long-term relationships with us. Therefore, with a considerable amount of growth, India has become one of Minmax’s main target markets.
EB: Which are the top three countries that you export to?
The top three markets for us are Europe, China and India.
EB: What are the roadblocks you encounter in the Indian market?
The Indian market is fiercely competitive and most of the consumers are price sensitive. We sincerely hope that customers begin to fully understand the advantages of our products and evaluate them on the basis of quality and performance instead of simply comparing prices.
EB: What advantages can a customer expect from a Minmax product?
We continue to develop miniaturised products which save space on a PCB layout. We have a high-efficiency product for the whole output load, as well as an input line and ambient temperature range that incorporates the latest green design technology and helps in energy saving, thermal management and minimising the temperature. This not only addresses the heat dissipation problems but also saves costs. Also, I/O isolation with reinforced insulation creates a solid electrical barrier to protect sensitive circuit loads. With these advantages, we hope that customers consider our products in their applications.
EB: How many local partners do you have in India now?
We have a distributor, Unified Electro Tech Ltd, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, with branch offices in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune. The firm provides local services in each part of India. Apart from that we also have a Malaysian distributor, HG & MS Technology Sdn Bhd, which can serve Indian customers. For online shopping, customers can purchase products through our global channel partner—Future Electronics.
EB: What platforms do you use to promote the sales of your products in India?
We primarily promote our products through exhibitions and customer visits. Because of that, we are now highly active at Indian electronics-related events, and we are also developing a strong social media presence.
We also aim to reach out to our customers through LinkedIn. By using such a powerful platform, we want to ensure that when it comes to business issues, customers will recall the Minmax brand. We plan to share more success stories on this platform to increase customer trust.
EB: Are you planning to increase your presence in India?
Of course, we hope to increase Minmax’s presence in India. As mentioned earlier, in recent years, Minmax has focused on the railway market, and the Indian Railways has shown considerable potential. We have a team that has an in-depth understanding of customer needs, proposes the best solution, and records the difficulties during development. We are launching a series of efficient railway products in India.
EB: Are you planning to appoint new distributors in India?
To increase our business in India, we expect to add two or three new distributors. That way, we can serve more Indian customers.
EB: What qualities do you look for in distributors that you hope to work with?
We hope that the distributors are proactive and serve our customers on the frontlines. They have to know Minmax products very well. We expect our distributors to actively promote our products with confidence in the highly competitive Indian market.
EB: Are you planning to set up your own office in India?
No, we are focusing on training our local distributors. Every year, the Minmax team visits India two or three times. We do so for distributor training and customer visits. We communicate with our distributors by phone or video calls to let them know about our new products and the latest technology, so that they can then reach out to a much larger audience in India.