UK firm adapts to grow in emerging markets

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BR Adam 7324 Independent Newspapers Dyson's international business distribution manager, Adam Garner, left, and engineering design head Michael Day show off a product they are bringing to emerging markets. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Technology firm Dyson hopes to use its status as Britain’s most inventive company to help it adapt its strategy for growth in emerging markets despite sluggish economic growth and currencies in those regions being under pressure.

In an exclusive interview on Friday, the international business distribution manager at the multibillion-dollar firm, Adam Garner, said the company had experienced growth of about 15 percent a year in emerging markets and it was gearing itself to take on that space more aggressively by investing more in research and development.

Dyson has its sights set on gaining a foothold in Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.

Although the company supplies higher end electronic products in the local consumer space, Garner said it was confident that it would gain access to other segments through strategic sales increases.

Dyson was founded in 1993 by James Dyson, who is currently the company’s chief engineer. The company employs 5 000 people around the world and manufactures its products in Malaysia.

Dyson spent £70.3 million (R1.2 billion) on research and development in 2012, making it one of Britain’s most inventive firms.

“We spend £2.8m every week on research and development, which makes us a market leader, ensuring we have a 70 percent share in a lot of the markets we operate in,” Garner said.

He conceded the firm had encountered challenges when entering emerging markets, for instance having to justify its price point to potential clients because the segment had more limited spending power.

“We are trying to expand our retail presence through training staff and helping people to understand our products,” Garner said.

Michael Day, the head of engineering design at Dyson, said the company had spent 10 years developing the Dyson digital V6 motor, spending over £150m to produce the engine, which he said gave an incredible performance, especially for the cordless range of vacuum cleaners.

Another innovative product which has recently made its way to South African shores is the Air Multiplier 05 heater with ceramic plates.

Commenting on the firm’s experience with consumer spending in South Africa, he said there was a need to realise that not everyone could afford premium-priced products, which meant the firm would have to divert profits made back to research and development to better cater for the market.

Investment in South Africa would go hand in hand with sales increases.

The company has a 4 percent share by of value in its category in the local economy and aims to increase this to about 10 percent to 15 percent in the next two years. Garner said the company was looking at the political developments in South Africa very closely.

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