We caught up with Bart van Liempd, CEO of Exergen Global, following his whirlwind trip to China. Along with Exergen Global’sHangzhou-based partner, Multi IR, Bart represented Exergen Global at The Optoelectronic and Infrared Imaging Expo, held at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, and at Sensor China Expo & Conference, held at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center of International Sourcing. He also visited a number of customers and prospects throughout China. Here are some of Bart’s observations regarding his trip and the sensor market in China.
1. You just returned from traveling throughout China for almost two weeks. What are your observations?
I was really struck by the disparity between how China’s cities are perceived, and the reality I observed firsthand. While many people think that China’s cities aren’t as modern as other major cities worldwide--like London, Amsterdam or New York, the places I visited had very modern infrastructure and buildings, and the citizens were sophisticated and technologically savy. I was also impressed by that fact that in addition to the well-known major cities--Shenzen, Shanghai, Beijing—there are dozens of other large, sophisticated and very productive cities, like Hangzou and Xiangzhou.
China’s reputation for reliable manufacturing and innovative technology has significantly increased in recent years as the country continues to make quality and reliability a priority. Everyone is very committed to that goal in China—which of course dovetails perfectly with what Exergen Global stands for.
2. During your trip you attended and exhibited at two major trade shows. How do they compare to shows you’ve been to in Europe or the United States?
The Optoelectronic Expo and Sensor China Expo & Conference could be compared to the mega shows in Germany, which, of course are very large and well-organized. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the shows in China are getting there as well. Both shows were very well attended, and had a wide variety of exhibitors, speakers and other activities. While the numbers from this year are still be tallied, last year’s Sensor China Expo had more than 10,000 visitors—so I’m sure when they have this year’s final attendance count, it will be even larger! The Optoelectronic Expo had more than 1,700 exhibitors from 30+ countries and regions. I left both shows feeling they were informative and worthwhile –especially since I came home with lots of potential customer leads.
3. How big is China for you right now?
The region is largely untapped and the market for non-contact temperature sensors is growing very rapidly in China. In fact, even though we started selling Exergen’s sensors there just over a year ago, together with our partner, Mutli IR, we already have five offices in China!
Of course, it takes time to build a strong brand image, but we believe we have what it takes to make real inroads in China. In addition to having top-notch infrared sensors, we have an outstanding reputation for quality and reliability, and we have solutions that can meet the needs of the industries that are quickly growing in China, such as medical, aesthetical, printing, plastic, and industrial.
Therefore, we are confident that China will become a solutions magnet for us, just as the USA, DACH and Italy have. We will be visiting regularly, there is no doubt!
4. We are entering the last part of this year. How has 2018 been for you thus far?
The last couple of years have been extremely strong, and 2018 is no exception. During the financial crisis companies were waiting to invest, but that changed and we’ve seen a big increase in purchasing. This year we see some first nice upside opportunities coming from Asia…….