Lucas Jiang, the General Manager at TP-Link MEA, speaks to Arabian Reseller about what worked for 2018 and what’s in store for 2019
How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
2018 was a challenging year for UAE and Saudi Arabia, because of the introduction of VAT implementations. However, the implementation of the tax will prove beneficial for regional economies in the longer term. Initially it was difficult but we managed to overcome these challenges successfully in the past year though and even surprised ourselves with our achievements. Globally, our achievements exceeded our expectations and we are delighted to step into 2019 hoping to continue climbing the growth charts.
What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
The past year brought along a plethora of opportunities for a number of industries due to the advent of cloud-based management systems and technologies. For small and medium businesses, cloud technologies and consumer mesh opened a lot of new doors.
Did you face any challenges in 2018?
The VAT implementation in the region and its effects on the budgets of small and medium businesses in the initial period were not easy to deal with. Moreover, getting the entire channel used to these new reforms was quite a task. As with any new process, things can get difficult in the initial days, but with the compliance and understanding of VAT increasing, things should smoothen out soon.
What were your key achievements in 2018?
We introduced our Omada solutions last year and got an incredible response and acceptance for the same from our system integrators. We also certified a large number of partners & customers with our TPNP (TP-Link Network Professional) and TPNA (TP-Link Network Associate) certifications. Our certifications are committed to providing our global customers with comprehensive and professional network certifications for network products and network technologies.
What promises does 2019 bring along?
2019 looks like a promising year as Expo 2020 is approaching and infrastructure of all kinds will be in great demand. The government has also allocated a budget for infrastructure that includes Wi-Fi upgradation as well. This will give a chance to increase the distribution of our offering and increase our market share ahead of the big event.
Do you see opportunities on the market with Dubai Expo 2020 just around the corner?
Absolutely! Like I said, Expo 2020 is generating scope for a lot of business across industries and an international event of such a magnanimous scale is bound to create a ripple effect with opportunities in store of everyone. With a significantly increased demand for Wi-Fi upgradation in preparation for Expo 2020, we are optimistic towards seeing a steading growth in the acceptance and installation of our products and services.
According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
As cloud-based management and technologies gain popularity, it is imperative to keep an eye on the two things that can prove to be hurdles for them. Network security and connectivity are the two areas that will attract attention in the year to come, I think. As more and more consumers and corporates move towards cloud, they would want to ensure that their connectivity is flawless and their data completely secure. Hence, I feel technological solutions in these areas will be in high demand in 2019.
What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
We believe in focussing on what our customers need and like, we see network connectivity and security to be the major technologies that will be in demand in 2019. We want to create a wider variety of technological solutions that enable our customers and partners to trust cloud-based computing, smart infrastructure, and products and services that run on artificial intelligence so that they can utilize them to their fullest potential without facing any security or connectivity issues.
What milestones have you set for 2019?
We wish to strengthen our market share with our SMB partners and individual consumers alike. By providing them with reliable networking solutions that contribute significantly to their operational convenience, we want to achieve the milestone of generating higher trust on cloud and smart technology. Through this enhanced acceptance of our technological solutions, we aim to generate around 25% added growth in both these segments.
What would you like to do differently in 2019, when compared with 2018?
Customers and channel partners aren’t just transactional consumers for us and we make great effort towards offering them a unique experience with our products and services by going a step further to educate them professionally about them. In 2019, we would like to work even more closely with our customers and SMB partners by investing further towards enabling them to learn the technical nuances of our offerings.
Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products / applications to your portfolio in 2019?
Yes, advancement is the only constant in our industry and we are always working towards adding interesting new products, applications, and services to our offerings. Our plans for 2019 include focusing more on creating hybrid cloud solutions for our small and medium business partners. For our consumers, we are working on an exciting range of products based on AX technology and we will be launching them into the market very soon.