Hefei Meyer Optoelectric Technology was founded in 2000 and quickly rode a wave of rising income and demand for automated sorting equipment for agricultural products, such as rice. Meyer is one of the world’s top three in that core business, and No. 1 in China. Meyer’s equipment is used in nearly 100 countries; exports account for 26% of its business. That success helped it make this year’s Up-and-Comers List published by Forbes China.
Looking ahead, Meyer hopes to diversify into faster-growing business lines. The challenges that Meyer faces are fundamentally the same as when it first started out in 2000, says CEO Lin Maoxian: The key is technology development. Lin knows about Meyer’s early days because he was employee No. 61 when he joined in 2004, after being introduced to main owner and current billionaire Tian Ming.
Meyer has been working to boost two types of new products. X-ray equipment used for scanning at airports and oral CT scanning equipment. It’s the latter business that may be poised to take off. According to a research report by Guotai Junan Securities, those sales are expected to increase to 300 million yuan in 2017 from 75 million yuan in 2015 and will account for almost a quarter of Meyer’s revenue in 2017, compared with 9% in 2015.
Meyer’s headquarters is on the western side of the inland Chinese city of Hefei. The historic city is a good place for businesses like Meyer because of the connections to universities and relatively low wages compared to first-tier cities like Beijing. From Meyer’s small start, the company has some 200 researchers, Lin said, yet it has also looked outside to forge research alliances with the University of Science and Technology of China. It has also worked with Fudan University in Shanghai.
Meyer is optimistic about Meyer’s prospects in the medical scanning products in part because there are no comparably experienced domestic rivals – the main competitors are foreign, Lin said. It’s upbeat about the CT scan market in particular because it has a relatively high barrier to entry.
Meyer still holds high hopes for better demand for its food screening equipment for the long run. China doesn’t have a “true guarantee” of food safety, Lin said. As many as 80-90% of Chinese food processing firms may not have proper scanning equipment, he believes. Eventually, demand for even safer food in China may rise and benefit Meyer in a big way, but that will only happen with a stronger government regulatory push, he said.
That is beyond Meyer’s own control, whereas new product development is an area it can find its own breakthroughs in. And that is something Lin is working hard to keep happening.
Forbes, 2017-3-23, Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2017/03/23/meyer-eyes-healthcare-hopes-for-tougher-china-food-safety-rules/#1d3f92825b52