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Chongqing Enterprise Rises from OEM to Leading Global Brand

By CHANG CHEN|Jun 28,2024

Chongqing - Chongqing Senci Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. has grown from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to a leading global brand, becoming a top exporter in the small generator industry.

This photo taken on June 11, 2024, in Chongqing Beibei District shows workers processing in the production workshop of Senci Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang, Visual Chongqing)

Targeting the U.S. market

Senci Electric Machinery Co., Ltd., founded in 1990 in Beibei District, Chongqing, started by focusing on small generator components. In 1998, the company formed a research team and traveled to Europe for advanced production technologies. Returning in 2000, Senci transitioned from parts manufacturing to producing complete units, entering the OEM market.

Through continuous innovation, Senci secured its industry position and collaborated with international giants, generating over $100 million in OEM orders. However, Chairman Ai Chun recognized the risks of relying on OEM contracts, saying, "OEM may seem profitable, but we have no bargaining power." Realizing its vulnerability, Senci established its brand and marketing channels for sustainable growth.

In a surprising move, Senci chose the US, home to leading small generator companies, as its first target overseas market. Despite fierce competition from established American firms, many of which are Fortune 500 companies, Senci saw a unique opportunity. Vice President Huang Yong explained, "The vast and sparsely populated areas of the US. rely heavily on small generators, making it the largest market for these products."

Senci's strategy leveraged Americans' preference for recognized brands and their loyalty to established names. This insight drove Senci to establish a subsidiary in America in 2011, starting its brand development journey.

This photo taken on June 11, 2024, in Chongqing Beibei District shows workers busying on the production line at Senci Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang, Visual Chongqing)

Facing challenges with determination

Senci's decision to develop its own brand faced significant resistance from existing OEM clients who saw it as direct competition. Some even threatened to terminate contracts if Senci pursued its branding goals. Despite this, Senci launched its self-developed generator products in 2012.

Retaliation was swift. American companies reduced orders, and other manufacturers canceled contracts. One major client, representing $50 million in annual orders, also ceased cooperation.

Chairman Ai Chun remained resolute: "Having made the decision, we must stick to it, even if it means initial losses." Senci's commitment was about both courage and strategy. They established a local team in the US to develop products tailored to the local market, focusing on supermarket distribution channels.

Gaining entry into American supermarkets was a significant milestone. Though Senci's products initially occupied a modest corner, this breakthrough symbolized a substantial achievement. Over time, their robust products expanded their presence, gradually earning recognition from American consumers.

This photo taken on June 11, 2024, in Chongqing Beibei District shows products on display at Senci Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang, Visual Chongqing)

Expanding the global footprint

With a foothold in the U.S., Senci aimed for further expansion. Vice President Huang Yong said, "We are exploring additional sales channels in the US and expanding our brand's reach." Beyond supermarkets, Senci targets specialized electrical product sales channels with higher standards and significant sales potential.

Senci is also expanding beyond the US, targeting markets in Dubai, Nigeria, and other countries. Each market presents unique challenges, requiring tailored products. Senci focuses on long-term storage reliability and low noise in developed countries, where generators are used infrequently. In African markets with high usage rates, durability and cost-efficiency are prioritized.

Supporting this global strategy, Senci has a 200-member R&D team dedicated to continuous innovation. The company has 30 modern production lines, over 1,000 production and testing devices, and over 500 patents, including 38 invention patents.

These efforts have paid off. Senci has successfully established its brand internationally, operating production bases and subsidiaries in countries like the US, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, and Vietnam. Today, Senci's products are sold in over 100 countries and regions, with annual exports exceeding $200 million, solidifying its position as a leading player in the global small generator market.

(Xie Zhiqiang and Yang Jun, Chinese reporters from Chongqing Daily, also contributed to this article.)


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