Diversification drives up 3M in China
(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2009-06-08 15:41

At a time when many global firms are shrinking to cope with the economic slowdown, what does one of the world's most diversified companies do in the Chinese market? In an exclusive interview with China Daily website, Kenneth Yu, Managing Director of 3M China, shared their secret of growth.

Although the US-based Fortune Top 500 Company makes over 69,000 products and primarily works on 45 technologies, Yu didn't think diversification strategy is cutting their edge.

"Being diversified doesn't mean that we are not specialized," Yu said, "what we are good at is combining and upgrading various technologies to create products satisfying different needs."

"For example, we make most of the brightness enhancement film available in the Chinese market. It is used in cell phones, LCD TVs, computers, GPS, etc. The widely used new technology was transformed from an old technology which can be found in overhead projectors used in schools 20 years ago."

"After we upgrade this technology, it means a lower cost TV for the manufacturer because less light tubes would be needed. It costs consumers less to buy than a high standard product, and it is also environmentally-friendly because less energy will be consumed. It's a win-win situation," Yu said.

"The other example is 3M's reflective materials, which have been used for traffic safety for decades," he added. "The first reflective road sign was invented in the 1930s by 3M. We kept upgrading and now we have the new high intensity prismatic grade sheeting. 3M has improved the reflectivity from about 50 candle power to over 500 candle power today. It means a lot to traffic safety in the world, especially for China," Yu said.

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