Scandic Sourcing paid a visit to Predire Quality Testing Technologies' test facility in the district of Jiading in northern Shanghai. Scandic Sourcing helped Predire start up their operations in China. One year later we meet and have a chat about the car industry in Jiading, and how things are going for Predire.
Predire is a family owned accredited Test Institute mainly for the automotive industry, founded in 1995 in Svängsta, Sweden. Currently, Predire has test facilities in Germany, Sweden and as of 2013 in Shanghai, China. Predire's expansion to China was assisted by Scandic Sourcing who provided start-up services by sourcing a suitable location for their test facility and also handled Predire's company registration process in China.
How was the process of setting up your test facility here in Shanghai?
"We came here empty handed with no guarantees, just my expectation to quickly acquire customers – so the whole process was at times a bit nerve wrecking. But it was a calculated risk, and it is now finally starting to pay off, as we have already received projects until next year. Many other big potential customers have also shown a lot of interest in us, so I am increasingly positive about our future here in Jiading".
Johnas Rundgren and one of his test-engineers in Predire's main test hall.
Currently, Predire have installed two big chambers in the main hall, one chamber big enough for a complete vehicle, which can simulate almost all natural conditions in the entire world, incl. aging of mechanics, car panels and installations. "Ageing means checking how well a part or system will work, look & react not now, but several years into the future", Johnas Rundgren explains. "Quite recently, almost 8 million cars had to be recalled from several automotive OEM´s due to failing airbags from a sub-supplier which had not performed adequate aging tests. Needless to say, a recall is both expensive and can have a great negative impact of a brand, something that all car manufacturers want to avoid – that's why you need firms like ours with this kind of equipment. It´s not enough for a car and all its systems only to look & work perfect directly after being delivered - It also needs to keep the quality and be safe to use for several years in the future."
Right across from Johnas office window in Jiading district in northern Shanghai, is Volvo's latest gigantic R&D facility being constructed. It is the second of its kind in the world; the first being located in Torslanda, Sweden.
Why did you choose to locate your test facility in Jiading?
"Jiading has developed into a R&D center for car manufacturers and sub suppliers. This development was partly engineered by Jiading officals who co-funded Volvo-owner Geely in return for the latter placing their R&D center in Jiading", Johnas explains. "In addition to Volvo; Volkswagen, FIAT, Autoliv, Magna Steyr, Brose and other major players have operations here", Johnas says. "Which is also what I found when doing my initial research when deciding where to locate our test facility.
I see camouflaged cars of all brands going by my window almost every week", Johnas says. "Those are new car models which have not yet been revealed which are being tested in secret around here in Jiading. For car buffs like me, that's not only cool to see, but it indicates we choose exactly the right spot".
How would you describe the process of starting up your company in China this far?
"It has been a bit of a struggle at times to get everything in place, including issues we never encountered before like bribery situations and really tough negotiating situations, but overall I feel that we have fared well and now finally everything is in place. I have been really consistent with keeping everything 100% honest and transparent. The company culture here is very different – a lot of it does not at the outset seem to make neither common nor any practical sense.
A lot of the times it has been good to have Scandic Sourcing there as a guide in those tricky negotiating situations where nothing in our own experience, nor even logic is there to guide us to a decision; I think only experience of doing business in China can help in those situations. The after-service from Scandic Sourcing has been a great support to have – a friendly voice a phone call away for some quick guidance whenever that has been needed from a knowledgeable and experienced partner. I'm happy I used Scandic Sourcing as a way to establish Predire in China".