Fuji aiming to make it big in air-cond market

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 16 Apr 2003

By Yvonne Chong

FUJI Electric may not be a familiar name in the local air-conditioning market but its marketer Fuji Technology Sdn Bhd aims to change that with its debut in the highly competitive retail sector.  

Its managing director Yau Kah Wei told StarBiz the company had been in operation since 1998, dealing solely with Fuji Electric air-conditioners but had been concentrating mainly on tender jobs. However, starting this year, it would be aggressively targeting the retail market to expand its sales. 

Despite the current uncertainties in the marketplace, Fuji Technology, which has 300 dealers nationwide, is optimistic of doubling its sales to RM20mil-RM30mil by the end of this year. Thereon, it aims to sustain a steady 15%-20% annual sales growth. 

Yau Kah Wei

“When we formed the company in 1998, the economy wasn't that good, so we decided to keep a low profile and focus on project jobs while waiting for a better time to expand our business to retail. But then it was no end of one event after another; external events that we can't control. We can't wait anymore,” Yau quipped. 

The company has budgeted RM2mil this year on advertising and promotion, which include print and radio advertising, billboards, and consumer premium items. 

“The market is confused over this product and the other Fuji products out there, such as Fujitec and Fujiare. In our advertising, we need to specify that Fuji Electric is Japanese technology and has standards equal to the other more well-known Japanese air-cond brands,” Yau said. 

He noted however, that features of Japanese air-conditioners were almost standard, thus the need for the pull factor, premium to consumers. 

“Compared with established brands such as National, York and Carrier, we're the new kid on the block. We have to go heavily on promotion and consumer premium items; quality premium in the range of RM200 and above, not RM40-RM50. We want to give value to our consumers, not things like comforters,” Yau said. 

For example, for this month, each purchase of Fuji Electric air-cond entitles the purchaser to purchase an Arena Cappuccino maker, a barbecue set, or a deep fryer for a nominal price of RM29.90. These items cost more than RM200 each in the market, Yau said. 

“We'll keep offering such promotions for the whole year to break into the market,” Yau said, adding that the company was currently also in negotiations with a few parties to do joint promotions. 

Retail sales currently contribute 30% to Fuji Technology's turnover, but Yau expects it to rise to 60% by the year-end. 

Fuji Electric air-conditioners retail from RM1,200 for a one-horse power unit. 

Fuji Technology is wholly-owned by Fuji Denki Sosetsu Sdn Bhd, which is part of Japan-based Fuji Electric Co Ltd group. Fuji Electric Co has been manufacturing Fuji Electric air-conditioners since 1923. The Fuji Electric brand is quite well known for its industrial products, such as converters, inverters, transformers, hybrid integrated circuits (ICs), circuit breakers, microcomputer systems and generators. Fujitsu Ltd was also a spin-off from Fuji Electric Co. 

Fuji Electric has air-conditioner production factories in Japan, China and Thailand. About 30%-40% of the local needs are met by local contract manufacturers and the balance imported. 

“In future, we'll do more contract manufacturing,” Yau said, adding that there were currently no plans for Fuji Technology to venture into other businesses. The Fuji Electric group also has a factory in Kulim, Kedah. 

Fuji Electric has the full range of air-conditioners: wall, ceiling, floor, cassette, ducted unit up to 30-horse power and multisystems. It boasts of being the only brand that has a hybrid ceiling/wall air-conditioner which combines the sleek aesthetic features of the wall unit and the strong air throw of the ceiling unit. 

Fuji Technology would be launching a new range of wall units later this quarter, Yau said.  

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