There is no use in playing it safe, if you are a Danish medtech company wanting to conquer China or other emerging markets – you have to go all in.
That is the advice from Radiometer boss, Peter Kürstein, who is experiencing great success on new growth markets with the strategy.
Radiometer established its own organisation in China in 2007, and at present the company employs 150 workers and sales people through distributors in the country.
“Even 150 employees cannot cover the Chinese market, so we have between 60 and 70 distributors in local areas. The 150 train them, bring them to sales meetings, support them. The distributors have all the contact with clients; we use the 150 employees to ensure that the distributors spend their time on our products.”
What is your advice for smaller medtech companies hoping to penetrate China and other emerging markets?
“My first piece of advice is that you have to put aside a huge chunk of money for it; you can’t enter China and hire a few people and see how things pan out. The resources you put aside have to go towards establishing your own organisation, so you can work with your distributors 24/7.”
No sporadic visits
And you cannot simply pay a visit to your distributor every now and then, he adds:
“The company needs its own backbone of an organisation out there. That organisation has to ensure that you find the right distributors. There is a swarm of distributors out there, and one of the keys to success is finding the right people, making the right agreements with them, motivating them, so they gain something from the products as well.”
Kürstein believes it is important to have a Chinese person in charge of the local organisation with a Danish representative using half his time travelling to China to work with the local Chinese representative. It has to be a partnership where the two work together as a team with the Danish employee delivering the company specific knowledge, while the local head brings his market knowledge to the table, he explains.
“We have succeeded with that model, and not just in China, but also in India, Turkey, South Africa and the Middle East,” he points out.
- translated by Martin Havtorn Petersen
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