Karcher aims for 'clean sweep' of Asia (The Straits Times) | Lao Tribune

Karcher aims for 'clean sweep' of Asia (The Straits Times)

GERMAN cleaning equipment supplier Karcher has opened new premises, riding on the back of strong sales growth last year.

The 16,000 sq ft facility in Depot Close will augment the Karcher store in Serangoon, opened in February last year, and consists of a showroom, service centre and regional head office.

Karcher brought in €2.12 billion (S$3 billion) in sales worldwide last year, the highest turnover in its history. It sold a record 12.72 million machines.

Mr Klaus Puehmeyer, Karcher South-east Asia’s chief executive officer and managing officer, attributed this strong showing to the company’s stable performance in mature markets, and its expansion in emerging Asian markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.

He said such markets hold great potential as they have yet to be penetrated by other firms providing cleaning supplies.

Karcher is keen to invest in these countries and hopes to open an Indochina office soon, overseeing operations in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Despite the increasing focus on untapped Asian markets, Singapore will stay a centre for regional activities, underscored by Karcher’s new facilities here.

Constant innovation was also identified by Mr Puehmeyer as integral to Karcher’s success, with product differentiation contributing to its appeal as a provider of higher-quality products.

Karcher employs about 900 staff in research and design, and 90 per cent of its products are not more than five years old.

Mr Puehmeyer also said the improvement in standards of living has led to higher cleaning standards, driving demand for better cleaning equipment.

Moreover, rising labour cost in Singapore has resulted in a greater need for more efficient cleaning equipment that reduces the amount of manpower required, he commented.

Mr Puehmeyer remains optimistic over Karcher’s prospects.

He quipped that the need for cleaning equipment will not disappear any time soon.

hsteph@sph.com.sg