June 27, 2023

Mr. Esteban Bretcha – CEO at Simon

1. Kindly tell us something about your work profile/business including yourself.

I am an economist, with experience in different industries, like Telecommunications, Pharma and since the last 16 years Industry, in my current company, Simon. In total I have 25 years of experience in several fields, as finance, controlling, sales, business development and general management mainly in international environments. Simon has been the company where I could grow more, and it provided me lots of opportunities for my professional and personal development, so I feel here like in my home.

2. When did you arrive in Vietnam and what made you / your company decided to stay here?

My first trip to Vietnam was in 2018. I was impressed by the booming activity that you could feel in the streets, and the openness of the people. Very quickly I understood that Vietnam was a country of opportunities, and that Simon should be there with a more intensive presence (we were already present through different distributors and export activity). Then, once we meet our local partner, everything was easy, as we understood each other very quickly.

3. How has your professional career or your company’s career developed since then?

We could complete the joint venture process with our local partner in 2021, due to all the situation and restrictions ocurred during the pandemic. Our project started with the construction of a new factory close to Hanoi, and the first year was devoted to this task mainly. During 2022 and 2023 we have been focusing our attention in the business development, and we are growing steadily, so we are very optimistic about the prospects of this venture.

4. Culture shock related to work environment in Spain and Vietnam?

Before arriving to Vietnam I had long experience in other Asian countries like China, India, Indonesia or Malaysia, so for me the shock was not so big. In fact, I found the Vietnamese culture closer to the Spanish one than the ones of other surrounding Asian countries, because the people is more open, they enjoy their free time and share it with friends and family. So I felt integrated very quickly.

5. As far as your sector stands today, what services Simon offers to their clients?

Simon is manufacturer of electric wiring devices and lighting products since the last 107 years. We have many different ranges of Switches and Sockets collections, always focusing in excellent quality and design, and since the last years, developing smart home solutions to provide new functionalities to our customers. Regarding lighting we are present in many types of projects, like residential, offices, hotels and commercial spaces.

6. What do you think are the biggest challenges for this sector in the future?

In my opinion the digital revolution is going to affect our industry deeply. The products are not just functional products to switch on and off the lights, and they are becoming sensors that collect data from the users to provide better experiences, to help them save energy, to learn from their habits and automate rutines to improve their confort.
This means a continuous relationship with our users along the life of our products, so it means changing the way we interact with our customers.

7. What type of promotional and communication campaigns do you work on?

We support very intensively our channel partners with one goal in mind: Make them sell more. So we organise multiple activities, from training installers in the new products and technologies, communicate the new functionalities, create communities to learn together along the process, and to establish long lasting personal relationships with our colleagues and partners.

8. What is your advice to companies interested in your services?

In our industry there are many players, many of them are new in the market, because it seems a relatively easy and attractive business. It is not easy, and experience and deep understanding of the market is key to provide excellent customer experiences. Companies like Simon, with 107 years focused in this industry provide this kind of know-how, and thus, customer experience. I would recommend to interested companies to chose partners like us in their projects, to avoid bad surprises, and enjoy the experience.

9. Please tell us a little about future plans of your company in Vietnam.

We came here to spay, to develop the local market which is very big, and to develop long lasting relationships with the local stakeholders. This takes time, but we don’t understand any other way to do business.

Many thanks to Mr. Esteban Bretcha for sharing your experience with us.

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