Interview with Thomas Rottach, Siglent "The customer is the center of our world"

Thomas Rottach, Siglent (talking to Nicole Wörner, Markt&Technik): "It won't be easy, but I am optimistic that our new European strategy will enable us to cut an increasingly large slice of the cake".

So far, the Chinese test equipment manufacturer Siglent is relatively little known in Europe. That is due to change now. We talked about the company's plans with Thomas Rottach, Sales & Marketing Manager of Siglent Technologies Germany GmbH.

Markt&Technik: Siglent announced that it will relocate the European office opened in 2014 from Hamburg to Southern Germany. Why? 
Thomas Rottach: The reason is quite simple: We want to grow and see the Munich area as the best starting point. The previous European headquarter was more of a logistics center for Siglent, staffed by a part-time employee who took care of warehousing and deliveries. For technical support, the office was staffed by changing colleagues from China. The complete order processing and organization took place directly in China. In the meantime, however, the European business has grown so strongly that you simply need your own team - with local contact persons who can provide customers with advice and support at short notice.

Could you please give us a more specific picture of the growth in the European business?
Over the past few years, we have achieved an annual growth of over 30 percent - in some cases even over 45 percent. Starting, of course, from a small amount, but in the meantime we have achieved sales of just under 5 million euros. In order to be able to continue these growth rates, we must now take the initiative and establish a permanently staffed branch office. The next step is to look for an office and warehouse in the vicinity of Munich. The colleague from Hamburg will also move to Munich with her entire family and will continue to support us there. In addition, we will employ a support/service employee and an office manager who will take care of order processing. During the transition period, approximately 1 year, a support colleague from China will support us so that we can take care of the construction of the new European headquarters. 

Sales will continue via distributors?
Yes, we have a large network of distributors who have very good market access, which we would not be able to establish ourselves so quickly. 

With which products do you address the European market?
We currently have oscilloscopes, signal generators, power supplies, multimeters, and spectrum analyzers in our portfolio. A few new devices will be added to our portfolio at electronica - including a 1 GHz oscilloscope. This is another reason to establish a local subsidiary: With the expansion from the lower performance class to the middle class, customer requirements are rising, questions are becoming more demanding, and local service/support is also in demand. 

In general, you will remain loyal to the low-price segment for the time being?
Yes, it does not make sense to go higher at the beginning. We must first approach the market and increase our brand awareness. You have to build that up slowly. 

What significance does Europe have for Siglent?
Europe is one of the most important markets alongside the USA. Both are very popular with the Chinese: in general and Siglent in particular. Both are large, growing markets in which you naturally want to participate. Europeans and Americans are not afraid to give feedback, both positive and negative. This is important for the Chinese, because they can learn a lot from it. In addition, Siglent has had OEM cooperations with well-known metrology manufacturers for years, for whom they produce and develop. The team has already learned a lot from this, too.