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on Friday, 13 October 2017
in Business in China

Why is it Important to Have a Chinese Sales Manager When Doing Business in China as an International manufacturing company?---- An interview with ACS China GM—Mr. Jiming Tu

Established in 1985, ACS Motion Control (ACS) is an international manufacturing company that provides state of the art motion control solutions. ACS has sales and support centers in the USA, Germany and South Korea. In 2011, ACS started its business in China by using PTL Group’s operational platform.

In March of that same year, Mr. Tu joined ACS China as their China General Manager.

Q: ACS has been using PTL Group’s operational management service since 2011, how do you find this platform helping with your daily work?

 

A: A great benefit is that we don’t need to set up a legal entity since we can already operate by using PTL’s platform. They recruit and manage our employees in terms of payroll, social insurance, and the expense and reimbursement of our employees. Furthermore, they host us at their well-located office in Shanghai where we have our independent office space, but still enjoy use of the shared meeting rooms, reception, and cafeteria. Thanks to PTL Group’s operational management, I can focus on developing our business and managing a well functioned distributor team. 

Q: What are the strengths of ACS products/solutions?

A: ACS’ products can be applied to many aspects that require accurate machine/robot automation moves. There are a few major applications, in which ACS has been leading the technology and algorithms, such as the semi-conductor. ACS is one of very few companies in the world that can provide high-end motion control solutions to the semi-conductor industry. Our strengths lay in highly accurate algorithms that can control the moving speed and position at the angstrom level. Furthermore, our solutions can provide a closed-loop for our clients starting from customizing the control and implementing the control, to later generating feedback reports of the implementation. This is very rare to find in the marketplace and something that sets us apart from our competitors. Q: What has ACS achieved in China during the years you served as China GM? A: The sales revenue in 2011 was 120,000 USD for China, whereas last fiscal year our revenue totaled 3 million USD. Within 5 years, the sales grew 25 times. Moreover, our brand has become more recognized in our industry than from the time I started at ACS.

Q: What has ACS achieved in China during the years you served as China GM?

A: The sales revenue in 2011 was 120,000 USD for China, whereas last fiscal year our revenue totaled 3 million USD. Within 5 years, the sales grew 25 times. Moreover, our brand has become more recognized in our industry than from the time I started at ACS.

Q: What enabled you to achieve this fast growth in revenue, and what is the most difficult part of selling for international companies in China? 

A: Before joining ACS, I was the Asia Marketing and Product Director for a Swiss manufacturing company. My time in that role taught me the three essential aspects for successful B2B sales: products/R&D, marketing/application and customer/technical support (see the chart to the right).

A satisfied customer will send a company feedback to push for R&D and new products; having great and quality products to sell ease your marketing effort as the products sell themselves; and marketing activities will promote the quality products and hence reach out to more customers. ACS China focuses on two parts: customer/technical support and marketing. Throughout the years, we have built relationships with motion control associations and participated in industrial exhibitions, in addition to hosting various seminars and trainings in the field.

Actually, the most challenging part of my role is to manage all the distributors. China is a “Guanxi” society; therefore personal trust is very important when a person does business here. There are also millions of distributors on the market, if you don’t know the industry or don’t have a network in the industry; it is very difficult to judge which distributors are good, which are only driven by profit, and which are even trying to cheating you. My strategy of managing distributors is this: first, we don’t make geographical monopoly; second, in each targeted vertical market, I only choose the top 3 distributors. This is not because we only target the high-end customers, but also because our products and solutions require a very skilled and experienced technician to support: smaller distributors don’t have the resources to hire such technicians. 

Q: How do you compare PTL Group’s module with the conventional option? Would you recommend PTL’s platform and service to others?

A: Compared to how my competitors or other international players chose to start in China, namely setting up a WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises) or a Rep Office, PTL Group’s operational platform ensures us to do business from DAY ONE and prevents us from the operational hassles and liabilities we would have taken as a legal entity. With their platform, I function as one of their Business Unit leaders and the Human Resources, Finance and even Logistics teams are ready for me to use. On this platform, we are part of the company but also enjoy our own freedom. To be honest, I have also searched for other options throughout the years; however none of them can provide as many benefits as PTL does. Just one example is that the rep office only allows us to do marketing and also charges high taxes for all the expenses. With WFOE, we can do everything, however the cost and management of hiring people are much higher.

I will definitely recommend PTL to the other international companies who want to enter the Chinese market; and actually I have just referred one of our Korean vendors to use PTL’s platform for their own China entry!

Q: How do you foresee your market potential in the coming 3-5 years? What will be ACS’ next move?

A: I think that this is a rising market so long as the international market remains stable. I predict a 20-30% growth every year for ACS in the Chinese market. The laser processing sector has been one of the biggest applications for ACS China in terms of sales numbers; however, I see the potential in semi-conductors, FPD inspection and bio-medical diagnostic scanners. 

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