André Kudelski, how do you keep growing in mature markets?
First of all, I think is important to say that advanced economic markets offer as many opportunities for growth as emerging markets. It is just the way we address these markets that is very different. For emerging markets, we tend to favor cost-optimized technologies with a number of well-established elements, and we try to take advantage of growth, which is structural in new countries. In advanced countries, the concept is very different because we have to come up with disruptive technologies or disruptive ideas that ultimately make it possible to accomplish new tasks and to do new things that people were not able to do previously, and the rules that apply in both cases are very, very different. What interests us as a company is being able to intervene in advanced economies markets which have new needs that people hadn’t previously thought of.
What kind of challenges are you confronted with in mature markets?
The main challenge is speed, because these are new technologies and new things, and you have to be able to bring them to market quickly. The other challenge is reaching a critical mass, and in order to do so, it is important to be able to access a market which is most importantly relatively large, but also with few internal barriers. In this context, the United States is an extremely interesting market because along with China, it is probably the only large single market which exists worldwide.
Why are mature markets like the United States important for your company?
First of all, the United States has a very different approach to new technologies and innovations compared to Europe, where the principle of precaution is adhered to. In other words, regulation comes first and innovation afterwards. In the United States, innovation takes precedence and then, if abuses take place, regulation occurs. This ultimately enables new concepts to be tested much more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.
What differences do you observe between mature and emerging markets?
One of the main differences stems from the fact that advanced or mature markets are much more receptive to innovations and are prepared to dig deep for them. Emerging markets sometimes want new things, but the question of price is an absolutely fundamental factor for them. In markets like India, China and Southeast Asia, you have to pay an extraordinary level of attention to your cost structures before developing a line. It is a little more difficult for Swiss companies, except in certain sectors like the luxury goods industry or certain niche sectors.
What advice would you give Swiss SMEs to establish their business in mature markets?
First of all, they need a presence on the ground. There is no point in merely reading magazines or books; you have to see for yourself what it’s really like. The second element is to understand whether, as a company, you can add value in an intrinsic way, or whether it is linked to specific regulations in a region. For example, certain opportunities in Europe or Switzerland are linked to regulations that require you to have a specific solution to address a problem. And you need to remember that like Australia, a market like the United States mays have different rules, therefore it is extremely important to understand what added value an SME can bring. SMEs must have the courage to go and see for themselves and test a local market to find out if there is an appetite for their products.
About André Kudelski
André Kudelski is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Kudelski Group, a world leader in digital security listed on the swiss Stock Exchange. André Kudelski is also president of Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, and vice-chairman of the board of the Swiss-American Chamber of commerce. He is a strategic advisory board member of EPFL and a former first vice-president of the board of Geneva Airport. He is a former board member of Nestlé, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse), Edipresse and Dassault Systèmes.
About the Kudelski Group
The Kudelski Group is a world leader in digital security. Its technologies are used in a wide range of services and applications requiring access control and rights management and help to secure the revenues of content and service owners in the field of digital television. The group also offers cyber security solutions and services to help companies assess risks and vulnerabilities and protect their data and systems. The group is also a technological leader in the field of access control for people and vehicles to sites and events. The group's headquarters are located in Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland and Phoenix (AZ), USA.