Quitting China to concentrate on closer to home
An ‘aha’ moment for Technology Valley Wingate-based Pertronic was a decision to concentrate much less on the China market.
The fire detection control equipment specialist manufacturer opened a Shanghai office in 2006, 24 years after establishing the business in New Zealand.
“We could never make it pay, in spite of us putting quite a lot of resource into it,” says founder and owner David Percy.
In 2012 a number of factors came together to make David reconsider China. A number of key Pertronics people wanted to come back to New Zealand, which made it a “double or quit decision. We chose the latter.”
One of Pertronic’s Chinese partners asked to become a distributor, and seven years later they still supply to them.
“Another reason for the decision was we were aware we needed to produce more advanced equipment for the Australian market, and we needed to focus there,” David says.
“At the time, which has been proven right, Australia had much better prospects. We chose the right horse to run with.”
David also makes the point that in 2000 most of the fire detection control equipment installed in China came from outside its borders.
By 2006, only a third was imported, and by 2012, virtually none came from abroad.
“We’re pretty confident we can compete against big multinationals,” he says.
“But if they can’t compete in China, even if they’re manufacturing in China, that’s a big message for a New Zealand based company."
(Picture - quitting China was a tough decision, but ultimately the right one says Pertronic founder David Percy)