Zengchao Zhang has been supporting the AKE Group for several years as branch manager of AKE Technical Service China.
In the interview, he answered a few questions and gives insights into the current challenges and plans for the coming years.
How does the branch in China support the German colleagues and what are the advantages for the local customers?
Our service in China includes extensive sales support. In addition, our technical team supports our customers right through to system construction and after-sales service. This is how we ensure high-quality advice and competent customer service. The big advantages here are the multilingual service and the resulting lower communication costs. The location in China also ensures the fastest response times. And a decisive advantage: with the local team, we can guarantee a deep understanding of local market demand and customer needs.
What are currently the biggest challenges in the Asian market? How do you deal with that?
In any case, a major challenge is that Asian customers, with the exception of the German OEMs, are not yet very familiar with AKE and our service. But we're already working flat out on this, and my experience in the industry is very helpful here. The AKE China team has set itself the goal of making the name AKE better known in this country as a competent and innovative system manufacturer.
In which areas could the branches in China and Germany still learn from each other?
Germany has more know-how in application scenarios and more experience in technical development, from which the Chinese branch can learn. The Chinese branch, in turn, has a better understanding of the local market and a large customer base. With this input and the amalgamation of experience, the automation solutions can be further optimized and in some cases reinvented.
Where do you see AKE China in 5 years?
As the largest vehicle production base and number 1 sales market, China will retain its advantages over the next 5 years. With the establishment of the AKE China branch, the basis for cooperation with local and international brands has already been laid. We want to use this cornerstone to definitely become the leading company in the Chinese BSR (Buzz Squeak and Rattle) market. We also want to continuously expand the area of assembly testing technology.
Travel options are currently very limited. Where do you want to go first as soon as it is possible again?
Important customers are always at the top of my travel list. The introduction of some new technologies, products and services provides customers with an advantage when presented in person. Of course, the return to the German headquarters is also a very urgent matter, as we have not had the opportunity to speak face to face with our German colleagues for a long time.