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Sika exec makes concrete plans for future growth in China

By Yang Cheng and Ren Xiaojin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-01-18 07:41:32

Founded in Switzerland in 1910, Sika has established itself as one of the world's leading specialty chemicals provider. Mike Campion, China president of the Switzerland-headquartered company, is confident that Sika will maintain its solid growth in the country. During the ongoing World Economic Forum, he shared both his insights into the Chinese market and the company's growth strategies with China Daily reporters Yang Cheng and Ren Xiaojin.

World Economic Forum focuses on the recovery of global economy and China is a responsive and responsible driving force of global economic growth. What kind of role do you see China playing in Sika's development and global plans?

Globally, Sika has been on a gradual cycle of growth for the last four years with an annual growth of 6-8 percent in local currencies.

During this period we have opened more than 35 new plants and 20 national subsidiaries in emerging markets.

Sika China has been successfully operating on the Chinese mainland for more than 24 years.

Sika exec makes concrete plans for future growth in China

It is now the largest Sika company operating in the emerging markets and as such is a key driver of our growth strategy.

The transition to the new normal economy in China has allowed us to become more efficient and technologically focused to adapt to the dynamic market conditions.

We are confident Sika China will continue its strong performance domestically as well as supply export products to our sister companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Construction materials impact greatly upon both health and project safety. Sika has become a reputable market player in China. What strategies have you adopted to build your reputation?

Our values and principles are the guiding force behind our strong company culture, which leads to our strong market reputation for reliability and service. We believe in putting the customer first!

The customer remains at the center of our activities and approach to the market.

Sika exec makes concrete plans for future growth in China

We build trust with our customers every day with dedicated personnel delivering innovative technologies in a sustainable way to benefit our customers and our communities at large.

Our people are empowered to take action and have the full confidence and support of the company to deliver value. We always deliver results to our customers and employees. We are building trust every day!

Despite its definite market potential, competition in China is cutthroat. In light of this, what advantages does your company have to help it fully benefit from the Chinese market?

China is really one of the most dynamic and competitive markets in the world. In recent years, the local competition has improved significantly and challenges us daily, so we must keep improving.

The major differentiating factors for Sika China are innovation and reliability. Sika develops more than 70 new patents a year in support of our customers needs.

These new technologies are quickly adapted to local products to meet the specific needs of our customers on challenging project applications.

Further, our customers always know that, even with cutting edge technology, they will have the full technical and commercial support of the Sika team. After 106 years in business, we are a partner that can always be trusted.

How did Sika perform in the market last year and what is your revenue target for 2017?

Sika once again continued its growth cycle with 5.6 percent growth in 2016.

Additionally, we established four additional national subsidiaries, nine new factories and four acquisitions.

These 17 key investments, together with our pipeline of new products and our strong sales organization, allow us to look to the future with genuine confidence.

For 2017, we will continue to implement our Strategy 2018 and deliver 6-8 percent sales growth.

Sika has made committed efforts in the field of corporate social responsibility in China. Could you tell us about some of your recent programs and events in this sphere?

Sika China is currently cooperating with "The Library Project", a non-profit charity organization.

Since 2015, Sika China has donated a total of 34,700 books to create libraries in 41 schools, benefiting 6,500 children throughout the country.

Sika also helped to repair 14 reading rooms in these schools using our Sika flooring products. To the children, books are like a magic window through which they can see a wider outside world.

Besides social responsibility, Sika China is always focusing on establishing a strong people development system to build more fresh blood in sales, technical services, R&D and other functions through activities including campus recruitment, the Young Professional Development Program and leadership training.

Sika China makes great efforts to drive a work-life balance for our employees by organizing a series of employee activities, such as company outings, family days and a quarterly birthday party.

What challenges has your company faced in China?

The transition of the economy to the new normal has created a slowdown in the overall construction industry and specifically in some of our key areas of new real estate development and infrastructure investment.

This has been coupled with an increasing lack of liquidity in the market pushing down overall investments and increasing bad debts.

Coping with such challenges is now every company's priority. Could you share with us how Sika plans to achieve growth in the future?

Sika has a clear advantage to be one of the most highly diversified players in the construction chemical market.

We operate in seven defined target markets which allows us to grow even when some historically strong segments go soft.

Additionally, we were very active in investing in China's heavy infrastructure in the second half of 2016.

This infrastructure investment allowed us to see strong monthly growth for the entire second half of the year, with sales growth in the third and fourth quarters of 6.2 percent and 10 percent respectively. We are very optimistic about the future.

Sika exec makes concrete plans for future growth in China

Employees at Sika's factory in Guangzhou. The company saw 10 percent sales growth during the fourth quarter last year in China.Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 01/18/2017 page7)

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