January 30, 2008
XRI: Build the Brand from Four Aspects

Editor's Notes: Top Ten selection activity of HC360.com, a website for auto parts, has been held for three times in a row. It has exerted enormous influence within the industry and played a great role in promoting developments of the auto parts industry. In order to express our thanks to enterprises, experts and leaders for their supports for the Top Ten selection activity, we choose some enterprises of strong competition and good reputation for interview. Mr. Wenxiong Guo, Manager of Sales & Marketing Department of Xiamen Riken, is insightful in aspects of OEM supporting, channel construction and brand building. Below are experiences of Xiamen Riken.

HC360:Xiamen Riken is a famous transnational enterprise. Please make an introduction to development situations of your company.

Guo: Xiamen Riken Industrial Co.,Ltd. was founded in September 1989, exclusively funded by Taiwan Riken Industrial Co.,Ltd., while Taiwan Riken is 50% invested by Riken Corporation. Riken Corporation is the largest piston ring and camshaft casting manufacturer. It has affiliates all over the world, including Taiwan, Xiamen, Thailand, US, Indonesia and European countries.

After its foundation, Xiamen Riken started from motorcycle parts. By now, it has gone through developments for over ten years. Our main products are piston rings and camshaft castings. Our company has been well-known in domestic market. Our products are supplied to Honda, Toyota and some famous car manufacturers. Camshaft castings are mainly exported to Fiat, Opel, Hyundai, Daimler, etc.

Picture of Xiamen Riken Plant

HC360:As far as we know, Riken has entered global procurement systems of almost all famous car manufacturers. What kind of qualification and conditions does an enterprise need to have in order to cooperate with these famous car manufacturers?

Guo: First of all, the enterprise needs to pass their evaluation systems. These famous car manufacturers have their own evaluation systems on quality, costs and delivery. Opel adopts evaluation systems of GM. Ford has its own evaluation systems. Daimler also has its own evaluation systems. We should meet all requirements of evaluation systems of these car manufacturers.

In the second place is R&D ability. Our company conducts R&D simultaneously with OEMs we support.

In the third place are talents. It is very important. Talents in foreign languages and technical development are very important. Only when we meet requirements of famous car manufacturers in software and hardware, will they cooperate with us.

HC360: Riken attaches great importance to innovation of product technology. How does Riken ensure that it runs ahead of its competitors in the technical aspect?

Guo: We are cooperating with OEMs, so we know well about their requirements. Compared with other makers, we have advantage in information. We conduct developments in accordance with requirements of OEMs.

We are a maker of engine parts. In terms of product development, it is certain that we need to conduct developments in accordance with market demands. We develop what the market demands. Compared with other products in the market, our products have advantage in the technical aspect.

We input large investments in the technical aspect and invest much capital in design software, program development and trial production.

HC360: It is known that piston ring production of Riken occupies 15% of global market shares, so Riken is supposed to have lots of experience in marketing channel building. Would you please share it with other enterprises?

Guo: For OEMs, we are in line with the principle of serving customers nearby. We set up offices, plants and sales offices near OEMs in order to meet their requirements. For example, if Honda sets up a plant in the United States, we will also set up a plant there. If Honda sets up a plant in European countries, we will also set up a plant there. If we have no plant there, we will set up a sales office there. Cooperation with OEMs calls for short-distance exchanges, such as exchanges in the technical aspect. If we are far away from them, we cannot achieve it. We have set up plants in the United States, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Spain by now.

For after-sales services, we carry out the agent system. We have one or two agents in one country. And there are distributors under agents. In this way, we have distributors in many countries.

HC360: A great many enterprises of auto parts have realized the importance of brand building. Riken has two brands, "RIK" and "RIKEN". Are there some of your practices in management of these two brands that your peers can use for reference?

Guo: First of all, brands have to be assured by quality. If products are of good quality, customers will feel satisfied after they use them. Then customers will recommend our products to others. In this way, brands will gain good reputation.

In the second place is that enterprises of parts need to support OEMs. Without supporting OEMs, it is far from a brand. OEMs have some quality requirements on supporting products. After-sales market should be served with quality of OEMs. In this way, there is quality assurance. Therefore, brand building is related with OEM supporting.

In the third place is that website construction should be accomplished in the marketing aspect so as to broaden coverage of marketing network. If market share of a product is low, it should not be called as a brand.

Also, publicity should be accomplished. We will regularly hold brand promotion conferences and technical exchange meetings in order to enable customers to know about our technical advantages. We will visit distributors for after-sales services to strengthen communications with distributors. Besides, we place advertisements on media and make some promotion gifts.

HC360: Top Ten selection activity for auto parts has been actively supported by enterprises and widely praised by the industry. What benefits do you think Top Ten selection activity can bring to developments of enterprises?

Guo: In my opinion, the selection activity can be influential only after it is widely supported. I pay more attention to involvement of selection activities. If only dozens of brands are involved in Top Ten selection activity, I don't think that it is satisfactory. Involvement is very important. If involvement is insufficient, there will be fewer people knowing about it. Then it will not bring many benefits to enterprises. If its involvement is high, people will know about it and keep a watchful eye on it. Then it will lift brand developments, product distributions and corporate images.

From: HC360.com

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