Xerox Egypt is the country’s leader in document outsourcing and digital printing, with the company’s revenues in 2013 back to normal after the 25 January Revolution.
Daily News Egypt sits down with Xerox Egypt’s general manager Ashraf Al-Arman to discuss the company’s expansion plans, target market share and consumers’ demands.
What are the main products Xerox supplies to the Egyptian market?
Xerox supplies offers different technologies and services to the Egyptian market. Xerox Egypt started as a direct subsidiary to Xerox Corporation in 1978 and it has been expanding since then. We introduced document services to the market in the 1990s and we have leadership position in the market in both technology and document related services.
Discussing leadership, can this be quantified as a market share value?
Overall market share, yes, we do have the leadership position in most of the product segments in terms of customer classification, especially in the banking and telecom sector and the government.
When it comes to high value products and services, Xerox is always a preferred vendor in providing services by its customers. Customers understand the value they are getting for the price they are paying. Also, they appreciate our post sales services, whether on break-fix basis or services basis.
This has been one of the major drivers for our success in the Egyptian market. Brining new technologies all the time ahead of most of our competitors and new concepts [assisted in the success]. We introduced the colour printing in Egypt for the first time in 1990s and we have a manufacturing centre in 6th of October City. We also introduced the leasing concept and services to the Egyptian market.
We support the region from Egypt for the rest of the Middle East and Africa, and we host the regional technical training centre for the Middle East and Africa. Xerox Egypt is also playing the first level escalation to support most of the technical engineering in the field across the Middle East and Africa. They refer to our specialists whenever they face a technical problem in their countries that requires high level support.
In the banking sector, would it be safe to assume that Xerox’s market share is well above 70%?
It depends on the product. On the high end products, production systems and document services, it’s much higher than this. For example, we print most of the bank statements and credit card statements for the banks operating in Egypt. This is above 90%.
Does Xerox track the number of products it supplies? If yes, how many devices have you supplied during the first half of 2014?
We are still expecting to receive the IDC report for the first half of 2014. But the initial numbers that we are getting show that Xerox is the number one market share holder on A3 products, both mono-coloured and coloured.
This is very important indicator, which we use. IDC is a reputable independent agency that measures market share in the industry. Xerox Egypt is number one in A3 products, which are the high value products in the market. This market is growing and the growth is mainly driven by the Xerox Egypt’s contribution. It was a result of major marketing activities that we introduced to the market late 2013 and early 2014.
What is this year’s supplies target?
The number of units is an important indicator but we don’t really target a specific number of units. What we care about is the market share position for each market customer segment and each product segment. We use the numbers that are generated by independent research agencies just to understand where the market is going.
Have you noticed any changes in the demand pattern of the Egyptian market during recent years?
Yes, it is moving into services rather than just wiring a piece of technology or a device. Xerox led this is the Egyptian market. It was the case for the corporate market for the last 15 years. They [customers] are interested in getting the service rather than the device. Now it is moving into the small and medium enterprises and businesses. They are now showing high interest in obtaining the service rather than just the device.
One other observation is that the customers are using more coloured print volume, massively in Egypt. And although we are seeing in other countries that the mono-print volume is declining rapidly, it is stable in Egypt. So overall the market is growing.
What is the target profit for this year?
We can’t discuss it. The 2013/2014 year-on-year (YOY) growth plan was to grow the business despite the currency devaluation. If we talk in terms of Egyptian pound to Egyptian pound, we seek to grow at least by 20% overall.
What we can also share is that in 2013, we have returned same revenue level of 2010.That was a target for us last year.
How about the growth the company witnessed during the past years?
Xerox Egypt was not relying on one market sector like most of our competitors. Before 2011, each competitor was focusing on one sector so whatever happened to this sector; it heavily impacted other players in the market. Xerox Egypt was fairly distributed across the market and product segments. We were not severely impacted by what happened in Egypt. We have taken some immediate actions early 2011 to minimize the impact form the changes that occurred in Egypt. We have seen this in Latin American countries so we had some understating with how to deal with such situations.
What were the actions that you took?
We kept our expansion plan as is. In 2011, we were hiring sales people to expand our sales coverage in the market. In general terms, we were not shrinking so we introduced new services, products and prices.