China’s strongly growing economy and Italy’s extensive sawn timber and birch products markets encouraged Koskisen to open sales offices in both countries.
Koskisen’s Juha Kohonen, Director of Sales and Marketing, sees a lot of potential in the Chinese markets for plywood and birch products. He is confident that exports to China will quickly exceed the million-euro mark.
- “We have exported to China and the surrounding countries to a certain extent earlier. According to our market survey, it is nearly impossible to establish a presence in the Chinese market if you do not have ‘your own people’ and sales representation in the country. Once we found the right person, the representative office was established quite quickly,” Kohonen says.
Bison Ruan, who works at the Representative Office in Shanghai, joined Koskisen from the Finnish lift manufacturer KONE. According to him, sales and market surveys are off to a good start.
“For now, the prices of Koskisen’s products are high for the market. Chinese customers either buy as many products as possible or they buy them at the lowest possible price. I have lengthy discussions with potential customers on a daily basis about the quality/price ratio of our products, as our thin plywood, for example, is about 1,500–2,000 euros more expensive per cubic meter than the local products. I have nevertheless concluded some deals, since our assortment includes products that even our international competitors are not able to offer.”
Ruan believes companies operating in the furniture, musical instruments and packaging industries will soon become Koskisen’s new customers.
“My target for the first year is to make Koskisen’s name and products known in the Chinese markets. I am sure it will pay off handsomely in the long run.”
At the end of last year, a representative office was established in Italy to operate alongside Koskisen’s ten-year-old agency. The office will be headed by Mario Merendi.
According to Kohonen, plywood products, sawn softwood and birch products exports to Italy are important for Koskisen. As the long-standing Italian sales representative was reaching retirement age, the idea of setting up a Koskisen sales office emerged. The idea quickly turned into action, with Mario Merendi joining Koskisen’s ranks in November 2010. He had previously been working in the global packaging industry.
“Initially he will focus on the sales of sawn timber and birch products. Later on the product range will also include plywood products,” Kohonen explains.
Mario says he learned the ropes quickly.
“The Italian markets largely revolve around price. In spite of that, I believe that Koskisen, as a company of good repute and high-quality products, has good chances of success,” Mario observes, and says he has already closed a few sawn timber deals too.
“My very first target is to make Koskisen better known among the Italian customers and the Italian wood market in general. Secondly I want to achieve my sales targets,” he says determinedly.