Mr. Klemens Brunner is Philips Automotive Asia Pacific’s General Manager. He began his career at Philips in 1999 as a research scientist. Today, he is working on the “disruptive change of the LED revolution”. We grab some time to shine some light on Philips’ involvement in Asia.
Could you name 3 product lines that define Philips?
Firstly, the halogen bulb. You don’t see too much in your homes here, but it’s everywhere in Europe and the US. It’s also makes up 80% of the automotive lighting market. In the 60’s, we were part of the inventors of halogen lamp and it has been a key product since.
Secondly HID or Xenon bulbs. In the 90’s, we realized that cars were getting faster, especially in Germany with it’s lack of speed limits. This means, especially at night, you will need a lot of light, because if you hit 200km/h on the motorway, you can’t use halogens, you can’t see far enough.
This spurred the development of HID (Xenon) bulbs which give out significantly more light than halogens. It was a huge safety step up. Our tests show that show that if every driver in Germany had HID lights, there would be 17 percent less casualties on the road.
Finally, it would be LEDs lights. For the end consumer, a changing to a LED bulb is only done once in a lifetime. Put it in and forget it, it will work for the whole lifetime of the car. It looks different, and it turns on much faster. That speed translates to extra metres for braking; LEDs are really a safety feature!
Wait, what about OLED technology which you teased us with?
OLED’s first products will be introduced in the OEM market, and we expect the first models to appear in 2016, on premium segment cars. We are planning to have OLEDS installed in the rear lights of the car, purely for styling reasons like big surface indicators.
Nice, what about the expansion into automotive accessories?
In the past, we focused much on only light bulbs. We’ve learnt that there are many more products that our customer needs and we understand. Thus, a very important product for us is the air purifier for cars – an important tool to combat the effects of haze and smog.
We also have the automotive driving recorder, which is the first new product we launched this year. We plan to introduce advanced technology to integrate with the car and emergency systems. Our plan is to expand these product ranges.
Another important product range are the LED products. Consumers can just plug and play and get all the LED benefits.
Surely you are working on something new right now…
Yes! We are working on an ambience light for the interior use. It means you can change how the cabin feels according to different times of the day. We are still testing it and getting feedback from customers as well as improving safety aspects – it must not be distracting the driver.
What are Philips’ future plans for South East Asia?
We have a new HQ in Singapore and we’re seeing many countries are taking off enormously. We plan to extend our reach so that our products are available to more people. Also, to extend our range to include 2-wheelers and trucks. We expect the highest numbers in Asia to come from South East Asia.
Run into any difficulties so far?
Other than just different languages and cultures, South East Asia has different countries with localized needs. It’s not like China where East and West areas have similar needs, hence the need to address what customers in a particular country want. Huge countries too pose a problem, for example, Indonesia with many islands, we have to reach the people. We have to work on the distribution channels.
What we see that people there are willing to buy scooters and spend some money to upgrade it – with all kinds of things. There is a huge market waiting for us.
Speaking of huge, where is Philips’ biggest market?
The biggest revenue we get is from the OEM business – car manufacturers. The biggest single country for us, is China. In ASEAN, the biggest countries are where Japanese car manufacturers are, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. We ourselves, have a factory in Malaysia too!