ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ABB invests in building Brunei market
SWISS multinational power and technology company ABB Ltd has had a long history of business in Brunei. The company has been offering its range of electrical products for residential and industry settings for about 20 years through other distributors.
Bobby Ong (pictured), ABB country representative for Brunei, said the company decided upon a more focused effort by opening its Brunei office nearly two years ago, establishing a direct link between the company and local clients.
The Brunei Times Business Reporter Leo Kasim recently interviewed Ong on ABB’s plans in Brunei and its role in the market.
What was the main reason for the company to establish a Brunei office?
We understand at this point oftime, a large expansion effort is not practical due to the market situation. But two years, ago the market was better because the oil prices were still high. We also participated in new large-scale projects such as Hengyi refinery and the Temburong bridge. Those projects led us to setting up an office.
We see this (opening of a local office) as an investment stage for us. For this time, we will work on building the brand and ready ourselves for when the market recovers and then get our return on investment.
The idea is to build the brand so that by the time the market gets better, we would have already established a strong position for the business.
The company has been doing business for a long time in Brunei. How do you think the market has changed?
At the moment, with current oil prices, the market is a bit quiet. But we have seen that the government has been adopting new strategies and direction. We’ve seen government agencies working to attract foreign direct investments into the country.
We are looking forward to the results from these government efforts with attracting more investment into the country.
In two years time, we believe that there will be more projects for everyone. The market may be down at the moment but it will go up again at some point.
How do you think ABB can contribute to FDI projects?
Apart from products, we provide advisory services for consultants and our end users to ensure that everything is up to standards. For example, we’ve a strike risk anaylsis for the Temburong bridge project. This involves coming up with a list of potential damage or risk to the structure should lightning strike it.
In this sense, we provide advice to our consultants to ensure that their design is safe and up to standards. So this is how we move around to provide our technical expertise in the country.
Of course, we also believe that after sales support and maintenance is crucial. In Brunei, we feel that we have the opportunity to share advice on maintenance which is important to ensure that the structure stays safe. Installation is one thing but maintenance is another so that’s another way for us to bring value.
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