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Global paint producer opens Moscow showroom: ‘We’re in Russia for the long haul’

Japanese paint manufacturer Kansai has just opened a lavish showroom in Moscow, their first in Europe. Why now? Because tough times bring opportunities to gain market share. Kansais country manager Michael van Harmelen explains why.

 

Mr Harmelen, Russian construction is lower than its peak, the rouble is volatile, and Kansai Paint is opening a showroom and sales office in Russia. Arent you worried?

Throughout the companys history, Kansai has repeatedly invested in promotion in many countries, including those where the currency is unreliable. This is a fairly common occurrence in emerging and developing markets.

Kansai Paint judges a markets potential not on its current economic state, but on the opportunities it offers for future growth. In this regard it is important to assess the long-term potential for capital investment.

 

What tools are you aiming to use to promote Kansai Paints in Russia?

Primarily a showroom  this is the most important step when entering the Russian market. The showroom will have colour consultants to help choose the right colour for internal or external finishing of a building or interior. The choice of colour is very important for anyone as it has an effect on an emotional level  colour can inspire, give energy or bring calm.

Our showroom also has visualisers developed for Apple and Android devices. Also, the company publishes a magazine three or four times a year revealing the general colour trends in the global market and Kansais predictions for the future.

 

Are you afraid of competition from Russian or other international companies? There are many firms on the Russian market that make and sell paints and coatings...

Bear in mind that Kansai Paint is the leader of the Japanese market and among the top ten worldwide.  So we are competitive around the world, we know our competitors very well and we treat them with great respect. Nevertheless, we believe we have something unique to offer that can succeed on the Russian market.

We place great importance on research and development  over 500 chemists work in our plants, and we spend over $50 million on research each year, including on developing new decorative coatings at Stellenbosch University in Johannesburg. This investment helps us bring world-class solutions to the market.

 

Why is now the right time to enter the Russian market? Russia is the first European country you are active in...

Of course, it is much easier to come into a booming market. But this is a good opportunity for us to come into Russia and make our brand well known here. And as soon as the Russian economy starts to pick itself up, we will already have the infrastructure and base to support the market.

We are starting by opening an office and showroom in Moscow, and as we grow we will invest more in business development in Russia.

 

Who are your products aimed at in Russia?

We will sell high-level paints here. I think our buyers will mainly be people with above-average incomes  both private clients and contractors. Owners of large houses and country residences, company owners.

 

That being said, what are your competitive advantages? Why are you so sure of demand for your products when the rouble is low?

An indisputable advantage is a general understanding of the market  we dont take a certain market or a certain trend into account, and this makes us confident that we have the best offering for the Russian market.

We dont just develop colour trends for the year ahead and keep track of what will happen  we quite literally set the fashion for these trends, as well as forecasting trends for facades, interior finishing, fabrics, and so on.

Regarding the rouble, again we are taking a long-term view. Russia is withstanding a tough period  things have also not been the best in South Africa before, but our brand is still strong. Were not in Russia for a year or two, but for the long haul.

 

 How much attention do you pay to eco-friendly production?

The eco-friendliness of our products is exceptionally important  its the creed of our company. Our scientists research the ingredients of our paints, and we already use water recycling technology at our plants.

Moreover, we produce paints that have a positive environmental impact. Our product line includes anti-mosquito paints, offerings that protect buildings from high temperatures, antiviral and anti-bacterial paints for hospitals, even paints that purify the air&

 

Finally, what colour trends will 2017 bring?

All the shades of grey will remain popular, as well as some unexpected vibrant aspects.

 

This is a translation of a Russian interview carried out by and appearing on Construction in Russia.


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Venue: CROCUS EXHIBITION CENTRE

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Tanya Aleksankina

International Sales Manager - Interiors sectors

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