The market for water purification equipment was not mature enough.
I visited Kazakhstan twice in 2014 and 2015. At that time, water purifier market was not full-grown enough there. According to Taiwan Customs’ export statistics, there were two water purification equipment exported from Taiwan to Kazakhstan in 2011, but the total amount was only US$2,400. In 2012, although the value of water purifier exported to Kazakhstan had increased, the total amount was still only US$150,000.
There were very few water purification equipment stores in Kazakhstan, but you could see LV or Gucci’s luxury handbag specialty stores everywhere.
According to my observation, there were several water purifier brands in Kazakhstan, including Atlas, Казахстан and АКВАФОР. In terms of brand awareness, Italian brand atlas and Russian brand АКВАФОР own most market share.
Three years later, I visited Almaty, Kazakhstan again. When I was walking in the downtown, I found that the hypermarket was full of water filter stores. Their 90% source of goods came from a Russian brand, Aquaphor.
In addition, the product price became very competitive because the water purifier products which came from China was also full of the market. More surprisingly, when you see the retail price of German brand, BRITA, in the store.
We could see that the Russia brand, Aquaphor, its 2.5-litre liter pitcher’s retail price was KZT 2,490. It was less than NT$ 250.
However, German brand, BRITA, its 3.5-litre liter pitcher’s retail price was KZT 2,499, but it had an additional cartridge.
More interestingly, the two brands competed with each other. An Aquaphor cartridge cost KZT 1,290. (It is about NT$ 130.)
Nevertheless, a BRITA cartridge cost KZT 3,100. (It is about NT$130.) Unexpectedly, the price of BRITA cartridge was higher than its pitcher’s with an extra cartridge.
I thought that BRITA probably copied the marketing strategy of EPSON printer. The price of changing a cartridge is the same as buying a new printer. However, BRITA and EPSON sell different types of products. It remained to be seen that if Brita’s marketing strategy will be such successful as EPSON’s.
The local importer invited ALYA to set up a factory.
Whenever I visited Kazakhstan, the local businessmen invited our company to establish a factory here. While one of them saw potential in Kazakhstan’s water filter market, but without technology. He would like to cooperate with us, and we didn’t promise him. As a result, he stayed at our stall and refused to leave.
Almaty’s tap water was from Tianshan Mountain’s snow water. By asking the local restaurant in Almaty, I learned that the restaurants here used water purifier to filter tap water. The only difference is that their water purifier was basic model. (2 or3 stages only.) Besides, it is weird that Almaty’s tap water was not chlorinated.
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Source：Rodger Lin from easywell water system, Inc.