Statiflo’s Technical Sales Manager Paul Buck talks about their experience gradually expanding from Singapore and Malaysia into eight of the ten ASEAN markets.
Headquartered in Macclesfield, Cheshire, with subsidiaries in the US and Germany, Statiflo is a world leader in the design and distribution of static mixers and other chemical process equipment. The company supplies the water and wastewater treatment industries along with the oil and gas, petrochemical, food, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper sectors.
Its products are used in more than eighty countries, and the ASEAN markets are playing an increasingly important role in the growth of the company.
We’d been exporting to Europe for a number of years, so the switch to Southeast Asia was not too difficult. We had seen an increase in inquiries from across the region. We entered the Malaysian and Singaporean markets in the early 1990s as demand for static mixers increased amid major investment to improve their water infrastructure.
We were grateful for the support of UK Trade & Investment, or the Department for International Trade as it is now known, to help us find a good business partner in Singapore.
Since then, we have supplied many static mixers to those countries and indeed to each of the ASEAN nations except Laos and Myanmar.
In the past 12 months, we’ve expanded in the ASEAN region by recruiting new partners for the Philippines and Indonesia. Recent successes have seen us secure significant orders for mixers for water treatment plants and for the oil and gas industry.
We are currently seeking a new business partner for Vietnam as we look to expand our current operations in this market. Our goal is to eventually supply all ten of the ASEAN countries. Hopefully, Laos and Myanmar will follow the rest as they continue to develop their infrastructure.
Challenges and Paul’s Top Tip
The language barrier can be a challenge, especially when discussing a technical piece of process equipment, such as the mixers we supply.
Also, we see lots of cheap competition in the ASEAN region although we are confident we cannot be beaten on quality. Companies throughout ASEAN are increasingly willing to spend a premium on reliable, top-quality goods and services from the UK.
My top tip would be to find a good local business partner, and be prepared to make frequent trips to the region to develop your markets.