TDSi has reached a key company milestone the 20th anniversary of our first sales in China. If you know our business you will know that China is a huge market for TDSi products and services, accounting for an impressive 5% of our turnover alone! Outside the EU, it is our largest single market and we are proud to be exporting UK manufactured goods to China undoubtedly one of the greatest (if not, the greatest) manufacturing nations in the world. This has been achieved through selling top quality, innovative and cutting edge systems to a highly tech-savvy and demanding security market that recognises the value of British-made goods.
Our success in China is the perfect illustration of something I often talk about the vital importance of our partners. When TDSi started trading in China in 1995 we definitely had to jump a few hurdles in regards to the local market, legislation and customs. In the export business you should never underestimate the importance of local culture, so building a network of the right local partnerships and expertise was vital. Partnerships have been essential at all levels, from the wide area distribution assistance down to specifiers and individual installers who know exactly how to get the job done efficiently and properly. We honestly believe that this local help has made our business share in the Chinese security market what it is today. We know we supply the right products (which is essential) but it’s only half the story in the real world.
Coincidentally to the 20th Anniversary, TDSi decided to conduct a detailed strategic review of our Chinese partnerships this year and we were delighted to appoint our new sole exclusive Master Distributor for the China market Shenzhen TengDaSi Technology Co. Ltd. With such a thriving and profitable business in China we felt ready to reach for the next level and we believe this will serve us, our partners and customers very well for the next 20 years!
Overall, China mirrors our worldwide push to increase our numbers of channel partners and to ensure we reap the full benefits of local expertise. With a country as vast as China embracing regional market needs is very important but we have also recently signed a five year Strategic Cooperation Agreement with China Rail Chen Bang Technology Ltd (CRCBT) that will see TDSi security systems installed across the country. With such a project framework put out to tender it was vital we could fully meet the needs and expectations of one of the largest and most used railway networks in the world, so we were engaged in careful and detailed negotiations for some time. Again local support from our trusty partners proved to make a huge difference. The deal includes an OEM agreement and will see our systems used in railways and company facilities across China.
With all the importance TDSi places on its partnerships, I recently found myself also talking about the increasingly vital need to engage with end user customers as well. Traditionally security and technology manufacturers have got on with the busy task of developing and producing products and let the distribution and channel partners deal with the client facing side. However, we are finding that as the market becomes more discerning and well educated on the solutions available, it has become far more important for us manufacturers to market and speak more directly to end users. It’s a fine line of course, the last thing a manufacturer wants to do is step on the toes of its partners or muscle in on the relationship investments made by those in the channel. But equally many end users have a good understanding of the technology, the potential solutions available and those in development, so there is a definite desire to hear more from the technology providers.
The unstoppable force of security integration and the general move towards 'The Internet of Things’ means that security isn't necessarily just the preserve of a customer organisation's security team. More often than not the IT function will need to be involved or may even take charge! With many security systems being used in conjunction with personal smart devices (either for NFC authentication or the administration of security) the democratisation of security systems with organisations has never been greater. Users and operators will distinguish the brands or products they use and it’s important that we manufacturers demonstrate our strengths, showing exactly what is on offer. You can guarantee if you don't, your competitors most certainly will!