Say Norco and you say: industrial computer systems, but you also say: growth and market conquest. This Chinese company has successfully evolved into a major manufacturer of embedded PCs in a very short time, with its market share rising annually. Its conquest of the European market was launched from Brabant, with Eindhoven as its high-tech stepping stone.
Norco Intelligent Technology ranks among China’s top three manufacturers of automated solutions for some very varied branches of industry. Norco not only produces but also designs its own products. “Our company has already made a good many breakthroughs in industrial PC development”, explains Joni Zhang, Norco’s Managing Director for the Netherlands. The Chinese company’s systems, besides being applied to various industries, are used in sectors such as transport, defense, healthcare and communications.
Norco was established in 1990, with its head office in Shenzhen in the province of Guangdong. Joni Zhang adds: “Our firm is growing rapidly, by an average of about 30 % a year, and our position outside China is becoming more prominent too. Intel bought a share in our company in 2009, and for good reason. At the moment, Intel’s our second major shareholder.” As well as its branches in China, Norco has opened marketing & sales offices in the States and Singapore. And Eindhoven in Brabant was added to the list in 2009, as Norco intends to move into Europe from there
“After some research, we realized that there were many opportunities for us on the European market”, says Sales Manager Johan Wang, recalling the company’s interest in the continent. The company quickly decided on the Netherlands, as Johan Wang explains: “In comparison to other western European countries, the Netherlands has a very open-minded culture, it has some very attractive business locations, and the financial aspects are rosy. And Brabant offers an excellent logistic environment with an outstanding infrastructure, and the town Eindhoven has an open, innovative setting that suits us to a ‘T’. The High Tech Campus is a prime of example of that.” Norco sets great store by technological innovation and invests 10% of its annual turnover in Research & Development.
Norco has serious plans for the European market; Joni Zhang predicts that the marketing & sales office in Eindhoven will be employing 20 people within three years. “We intend to roll out our sales network all over Europe from here, and then we’ll set up branches in other European countries too, but Eindhoven will always be the home base of this operation. And I certainly wouldn’t rule out a Norco distribution centre here in the future. Our company has found its niche and I can imagine that other Chinese companies are seriously considering Brabant as an option if they decide to branch out to Europe.”
On a personal level, both gentlemen feel very at home in Eindhoven. Johan Wang enthuses: “It’s great to live and work here, and we’re grateful to the North-Brabant Development Agency for helping us find our way about. We came across BOM in 2008 at the Cebit fair in Hanover, and scarcely a year later we were getting down to business in Eindhoven. We really appreciate their work.”