For more than a century, OSRAM has played a key role in driving lighting technology forward. The European-founded business has recently shifted its focus from solely being an integrated light manufacturer, and towards being more of a dedicated lighting technology provider. It’s a move that will guarantee its success well into the future.
Sam Wu heads up OSRAM’s operations in APAC, and he has a special interest in the business’ activities in his birth country of China. With China being the largest single market for lighting in the world, as well as the second largest economy, there are many opportunities for OSRAM to capitalise there. Asia, more generally, is also booming. By 2020 its global market share in lighting is forecast to reach 45 per cent, 10 per cent up from 2012 — the year that Sam took the reins as CEO APAC.
Sam believes that market orientation and technology leadership have been key factors behind OSRAM’s success in China, as well across wider APAC. “We are closer to our customers and end-users than ever before,” he says. “Rather than simply responding to their demands, we are exploring their hidden needs.
As a German company with a history tracing back 110 years, we have always invested heavily in R&D to keep our competitive technological advantage. Technology leadership brings us cost advantage, and it also brings value to our customers. To fully embrace the digital era, we need to build up capabilities, such as software, which is an area we are not strong enough in yet. The imperative is to manage change and conduct business transformation.
The disruptive technologies we’ve introduced, such as LED, have already equipped us with the mindset we need to adapt and make this happen.”
As a German company with a history tracing back 110 years, we have always invested heavily in R&D to keep our competitive technological advantage.
OSRAM’s footprint in China and APAC has laid an extremely solid foundation for its future success. It has six factories in China and is currently investing €1 billion into a new LED chip plant in Kulim, Malaysia, as part of its ‘diamond initiative’ which is aimed at promoting growth and sustained enterprise value for the company in its activities across the world. Sam says that empowerment is the key to ensuring an international business is successful in Asia, and it is the approach he takes with OSRAM.
“We have had to set up a management structure and provide a framework in which the employees in China can demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit,” he shares. “That’s the only way that companies are able to respond quickly and more dynamically to the different demands of customers and markets, as well as survive digital transformation. Employees must learn to show courage in taking risks and responsibility. This is true not only in the Chinese market, but also in other regions.”
The next big opportunity for OSRAM is in the field of connected lighting, which is being fast-tracked thanks to the increasing developments in Cloud computing and telecommunication infrastructure. Combined with the digital nature of LED lighting, all lighting nodes are connected and this results in ample benefit for the user. “The introduction of connected lighting will enable great flexibility in control, maintenance, diagnosis, and tailor-made lighting services,” Sam explains. “The connected lighting for street, highway, factory, office, and home usage will generate lots of new opportunities for OSRAM.”
Close attention is also being paid to the concept of smart lighting which is an upgrade to connected lighting. “Smart lighting is an integrated system with sensors and software which makes the lighting ‘smart’. It doesn’t matter if it’s in an office or in a car, the light can adapt to the environment and calculate the best light output. Smart lighting is an integral part of smart city or smart transportation and it stands for the next generation of lighting.”