Monday, June 8, 2009

Socomec UPS and other Products in Asia: Some Information

I took this interview a few months ago. At that time, Jean-Michel Pigeon APAC Project Manager and Clement Chang Area Manager of Socomec came to Bangladesh and I took their interviews for a magazine here in Dhaka.

Socomec is a big name in the UPS industry worldwide. Its products are available in all the continents in the world. Socomec is also a popular name among UPS users in Bangladesh. Tech Valley is their sole distributor in our country. Socomec products are widely used by companies in Telecom, medical and financial sectors. The company is contemplating on expanding their operations in Bangladesh by opening a local office in Dhaka. Recently, Jean-Michel Pigeon APAC Project Manager and Clement Chang Area Manager of Socomec visited Bangladesh. Razib Ahmed of Computer Bichitra joined them along with Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel in a friendly chat in which they talked about various issues related to Socomec. Excerpts from their conversation for the readers:

Razib Ahmed: Tell us a bit about your partnership with Socomec.
Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel: Socomec is a French company and it has worldwide presence. They are mainly in the UPS business and their focus is to present the world with more effective and powerful UPS so that economic activities do not hamper due to problem with electricity. Socomec was set up in 1922 and initially they were famous for producing switch gears. They have been making UPS since 1972. So, you can see that it has over 35 years of experience in this field. Socomec also produces rectifier, inverter, static transfer switch etc. IN the UPS category, Socomec has products from 600 VA to 4800 VA.
Tehcvalley has been marketing Socomec UPS products since 1991. We are their sole distributor in Bangladesh.

Razib Ahmed: How are Socomec products doing in Bangladesh?
Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel: Among business users, Socomec UPS products are very popular. In fact, we have supplied Socomec UPS to many Telecom companies, hospitals and clinics, Banks and Financial
organizations. I think that Socomec has 60% market share in Bangladesh. Our focus is on business users and we are successful in it. We also have a model or two for home users. In fact, we provide some subsidy and try to sell the UPS for home users at a cheaper rate.

Razib Ahmed: The condition of electricity is terrible in Bangladesh and all the people are suffering. The imported UPS devices that can support home users for 3-4 hours are very expensive and beyond the reach of most people. Don’t you think that Bangladeshi companies should come forward and make UPS that would be more suitable for Bangladeshi condition?
Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel: Yes, I agree with you that Bangladeshi companies should come forward in this regard. However, there is a problem at this moment. Right now, there is a global shortage of lead- the main raw material of UPS battery. Bangladesh government and leading universities should carry out research in this regard.

Razib Ahmed: Do you provide any warranty for Socomec products?
Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel: Yes, we do. There is one year standard warranty for Socomec UPS devices. Warranty may be extended upon the request of the customers. For example, some of our clients like to buy 5 years extended warranty from us when they purchase a Socomec UPS.

Razib Ahmed: Bangladesh is totally dependent on foreign countries for computer hardware products. Why can we not produce computer hardware products in Bangladesh?
Md. Mahfuz Ali Sohel: The main problem for Bangladesh is that its market size is still relatively small to many countries of the world. We may have nearly 150 million people in our country but very few of them are using computer accessories. So, a hardware producing company will have to go for exporting. However, it is difficult for Bangladesh to compete with China in this regard. So, it is a difficult task. However, the government should come forward in this regard and help the private sector. The government has to take initiative for research.

Conversation with Jean-Michel Pigeon:

Razib Ahmed: How long have you been with Socomec?
Jean-Michel Pigeon: I have been with Socomec over 20 years. I started in 1988 in R&D. Then, I was involved in Technical marketing side as Project Manager. 3 years ago, I went to Beijing and contributed in the Chinese operation of our company. Then, I was made APAC Project Manager. Now, I am based at Singapore and I look after Asia
Pacific region. Asia Pacific is a very important region for Socomec. We have presence in many countries in this region. In India, we have a subsidiary Chennai and we have offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc. We have subsidiaries in Singapore, China, Taiwan etc.

Razib Ahmed: What are your most important markets in Asia?
Jean-Michel Pigeon: China and India are the largest markets in this
region. You know that they are the largest countries in the world too. There are some countries we are doing very well and the market leaders. In some other countries, we are in the second or third position. In Singapore, we are doing quite well and we have a good
market share there. We have also seen healthy growth in China too in recent years.

Razib Ahmed: This is your first visit in Bangladesh. How would
you describe Bangladesh?
Jean-Michel Pigeon: I just came here last evening. It is a beautiful country and I also liked the fact that Dhaka is a less crowded city compared to some other cities of Asia. As for the electricity, I noticed that several times electricity was gone since this morning. I liked Bangladesh and its people and I look forward to come here again.

Razib Ahmed: In Bangladesh, in the markets, you can find many
brands of UPS products. Why should a company buy Socomec UPS instead of other brands? What are the good sides of Socomec UPS?
Jean-Michel Pigeon: I believe that Socomec UPS products have some good sides. The main thing I like to focus is that we give a lot of efforts on Research and Development. We always try to bring out the best products. We work a lot on producing faster and better UPS and we are always trying to make new UPS and increase their capacities and we focus on bringing new technology on a continual basis. This new technology gives a lot of facilities to the customers in terms of cost and efficiency. That is perhaps why, Socomec UPS is the leading UPS in many countries in Asia and the world.

Razib Ahmed: Tell us something about R&D of your company.
Jean-Michel Pigeon: We give a lot of emphasis on Research and Development (R&D). We are always investing on new technology. That is why, you will find that nearly 80% of our products were developed in the last 3-4 years.

Razib Ahmed: Do you like to share any experience with us about any project?
Jean-Michel Pigeon: We have carried out some large scale installations in China. For example, we have installed more than 30 400 KVA UPS for Beijing Telecom which belonged to China Telecom. All the gas lines from east to west of China are backed up by our UPS. In India, Cisco is one of our biggest customers. Our largest installation is
near Shanghai China.

Clement Cheng is Area Manager of Socomec. I also talked to him about Socomec products in Bangladesh:

Razib Ahmed: How are you doing in Bangladesh?

Clement Cheng: Bangladesh is one of our important markets. You know that Tech Valley is our local partner. I think that in the last 5 years, business has been growing steadily in Bangladesh for us. We are hopeful that Bangladeshi market will continue to grow at a good pace. We are hoping to have double digit growth for Socomec products in Bangladesh every year. We are considering setting up an office in Dhaka but as of now, we still have our good partner Tech Valley for the last 17 years. We are highly satisfied with the performance of Tech Valley in Bangladesh. We export all models of UPS to Bangladesh. Financial sector, telecom companies, medical industry are our
main clients in Bangladesh.

Razib Ahmed: How do you make sure that customers get good after
sales support in Bangladesh?
Clement Cheng: We take all our customers very seriously. Our partner Tech Valley has good engineers. They are trained by our people of Socomec. We also have some specialists in Asia like Jean-Michel Pigeon who are based in Singapore and they provide support to whole of Asia. This is our immediate support to the clients. Of course, we have more experts in our head quarter in Europe.

Razib Ahmed: What are the special features of Socome UPS that make them more attractive than other brands in the market?
Clement Cheng: As you can see, we have nearly 4 decades of experience in producing UPS. Thus, we are an established name in the UPS industry worldwide. We have been present in Bangladesh market for last 17 years through Tech valley and in the last 17 years we have seen many competitors come and go in this market. This shows that our products have something special that kept our clients happy in Bangladesh. That is why, we have good market share in this country. We are here to stay in Bangladesh.

Razib Ahmed: What is your future plan about Bangladesh?
Clement Cheng: I have stated earlier that Bangladesh is an important market for us and we hope to see healthy growth here in the coming years. So, we are planning to open local office and carry out operations here.

Razib Ahmed: What kind of marketing strategy do you follow in Bangladesh?
Clement Cheng: First, we look at the demand and what the customers want. Then we try to follow up that with our products. Then we try to provide integrate power solutions. As you know, at this moment, telecom is the booming sector for Bangladesh. So, we are trying to address this market segment. We are focused on big capacity UPS solutions. In fact, the largest UPS in Bangladesh was installed by Tech Valley and it was a Socomec UPS. It was installed in the medical sector. In the Telecom sector, we have nearly 70% market share. We are also very strong in the banking sector. Composite textile sector is now booming in Bangladesh and it has a good potential for Socomec products.

No comments:

Post a Comment