The vendor of Fiery, dominating with 97% market share in the production printing market in China alone, is not about to let the status quo remain. Ramin Kazemi (RK), vice-president for EFI Asia Pacific, talks to Christel Lee of Print Pack Publish Asia on the third day of the fortnight-long exhibition.
GPM: Congratulations on your success in the initial days - six units sold so far. What is your target?
RK: We would like to sell as many units as we can at drupa! The sky is the limit. On a real note, my target will be to connect with the customers and share what we have to offer. I want customers to know how serious we are in leading this super-wide format industry. I hope customers see the level of our commitment, understand what a strong partner we are, and choose us.
GPM: What would be your realistic expectations for Asia? Which unit would you expect to put out there?
RK: Asia is a growing market and we are experiencing tremendous progress in Australia, China, and Indonesia. We want to capture as much of this Asia boom as possible, but we have to back it up with a solid backbone in the area service. We need to have the right infrastructure in place; good facilities and excellent post sale support. We need to ensure customers come first and build around this premise.
My target is to be more sensitive to Asia; provide the most suitable products, communicate our story in the most effective way, and as mentioned earlier, back our promise with excellent support.
At EFI, we are proud of all products in our portfolio, but if I need to pick one to put out there like you say, I would choose VUTEk. This is a stellar product line and we have such a strong customer base. VUTEk is certainly one of our flagship products.
GPM: Any specific countries of growth?
RK: The first countries that come to mind are China and India. We are putting the right measures in place for future growth. Though many are feeling the heat of China's finance slowdown, we have been fortunate to remain "safe" from this heat.
I hope to see even more growth in Australia and Indonesia. However, I wish to get into emerging countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar.
GPM: Comparing yourself to the other players, what would be your biggest selling point?
RK: We've been in this business for 23 years. If it weren't for our long history and our 33 platforms, we wouldn't be here today. While most of us have spent half of our lives in this super-wide format industry, we are still young when it comes to the enthusiasm we have for the business and our goals for the future.
EFI invests over 20% of its revenue in R&D, with the main focus on the hardware sector. The average company only invests up to 2%. Our higher emphasis on R&D clearly reflects our vision and strategy. We still also consistently invest in our software portfolio. This is the more matured sector of our business, and we are happy to say we are still the leaders in this market. Overall, we believe that our R&D investment will be key in keeping us providing better solutions to our customers in the years to come. As long as the customers exist, we exist.
GPM: "Talk to Fiery", do you see that coming into Asia?
Of course! Asian mobile phone users are much more educated than those from other parts of the world! You can walk on the street and see that everybody knows how to use a phone. Today's market involves a lot of B2C (business to consumer), which applies to all demographics. Therefore, there is a great potential for this in Asia.
In China, we have 97% market share in production printing. We hope to keep it this way in Asia and if possible, even improve it.
GPM: Printing on caskets.... You have a client in Netherlands called Lifeart who produces printed caskets. Do you see that kind of "creativity" happening in Asia?
RK: I think this has a lot to do with the flexibility of the machines. Customers should not limit their business because of equipment limitations. We are having an event on 11 July in Shanghai, where all the samples shown at drupa will be on display. This type of event gives us the opportunity to share all these different creative and innovative ideas with other customers.
In July, customers in Shanghai will get a feel for what we are doing in other countries, They in turn will get creative and add their own twist, which will then inspire other folks to come up with new ideas. This evolution never ends and we are happy to support it. In fact, seeing this dynamic exchange and evolution is one of the benefits of my position. I invite you to come to Shanghai in July and to Print next year and see for yourself. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I do.