After going through a tough time of restructuring, former industry leader, Suntech, showed up with a lofty tone at SNEC 2014. The crowd at Suntech’s booth showed industry’s acceptance toward the brand “Suntech”.
EnergyTrend has the pleasure to interview with Suntech’s global marketing director, Hui Wu, during SNEC 2014 to talk about its brand, product positioning, and future strategies.
Consistent Product Positioning, Quality Assurance and New Product Launch
Wu noted that after Suntech’s restructuring, its brand and product positioning remained consistent. Suntech once borrowed money from the bank and invested the money in products that have no return, such as silicon materials and wafers, and thus led to financial problems. Yet, since Suntech continues to maintain high product quality, their old clients and partners are still positive about the brand “Suntech”. In terms of product technology, Suntech Australia and Chinese R&D team have been sticking to developing new products since last March when Suntech declared insolvency. They announced three new products to the public within two months. Among all, Wem high-efficiency module has conversion efficiency of 17% and it has become a popular product in Europe. By adopting new cell technology, they are hoping to solve PID problems in the market.
Wem High-Efficiency Module
Aside from new product launch, Suntech insists to maintain high quality and high standard when selecting materials and products.
Wu indicated that several markets are important to Suntech in 2014. Since Suntech was once a former industry leader, its market share is quite large in the European market. Suntech will do what they can to win market share as the EU-China trade war came to an end. Meanwhile, Suntech’s old clients can still identify with the brand “Suntech”. Thus, the whole new Suntech is likely to have a bright future in Europe due to market share and brand advantages.
Another important market is Japan. In the past few years, Suntech ranked the first among all non-Japanese companies in Japan. Although going through a year of restructuring, Suntech Japan sold more than 200MW products and none of the employees in the company have decided to quit their jobs. It’s believed that Suntech will have better achievements in Japan with more supports.
Insist on Being a Module Manufacturer and Focus on Production Expansion
Regarding future development, Wu noted that although Suntech was acquired by ShunFeng, it is still a brand that’s operated independently. The company’s future strategy is to come up with brand and product extension on the basis of providing reliable products. They will set foot in downstream EPC business, project development, project financing, and operations, with the support of ShunFeng. From product aspect, Suntech will develop products like inverter or BIPV. They will become a comprehensive energy solution manufacturer under the premise of being a module manufacturer.
In the past twelve years, Suntech has sold 8GW of products to the world. When it comes to questions like whether they will keep their product warranty after restructuring, Wu indicated that Suntech has notified customers many times in different occasions – All product warranty will continue. In regards to people’s doubts on Suntech’s promises, Wu emphasized this is a promise from both Suntech and ShunFeng. In the meantime, Suntech is negotiating with insurance companies. Currently, they have come to an agreement with German Insurance Company, SolarIF. Suntech will provide additional warranty when there are unpredictable issues to protect customers’ interests as much as possible.
SNEC2014 Suntech Booth
Right before SNEC2014 was held in May 14th, Australia has started an anti-dumping investigation toward Chinese PV module imports. After SNEC2014 ended, India also confirmed that they will impose anti-dumping tariffs on US, China, and Malaysian PV manufacturers. With Europe holding another anti-dumping and countervailing investigation on US PV imports, Wu indicated that trade wars will not quiet down, instead it will happen frequently because energy is an important sector to every country. For some countries, if they find out 50%-60% of the quotas in some of their energy industry are occupied by Chinese companies, they will panic and thus propose anti-dumping and countervailing investigation. Therefore, Suntech thought of a few solutions in previous months to respond to future trade wars. As PV demand will continue to increase in the next two to three years, Suntech’s capacity and target are likely to increase as well.