Question: I’ve visited Nigeria twice. My business associate still lives in your country – A beautiful and hospitable place. Please let me know if there is market for bullet-proof glass windows in Nigeria. Though now back in China, my associate will watch out for your response. – Yi Qian
Thank you for the nice words about Nigeria. I hope other prospective investors in the country will be convinced of this to see that this place is quite attractive, and is not exactly how it’s being ‘painted’ in certain quarters. I opted for a response to your query through this medium (publicly) due to the spade of similar enquiries from outside of these shores, and for your associate, whom I believe still resides and doing business here (as you implied) to have an opportunity of conveying it, even if it entails scanning this page for your consumption, digitally, in China.
Aside urging you to support what you will encounter in this piece as my response with a visit to the ‘commercial section’ of the Nigeria embassy in Beijing; or Nigeria Consulate General , in Hong Kong (if you are not based in mainland China), I do not subscribe to your “storming” this market without first testing the ground.
This is in line with a saying in this clime that, “You do not measure the depth of a river with both feet”. This involves an initial effort at a comprehensive Marketing Intelligence exercise (I hope you’ll not confuse this with ‘marketing research’, as both are not the same). I may have an opinion about the likely result of such an exercise, but I hesitate to convey it, as I do not know the actual make up of your product, coupled with its classification as a security item.
Marketing Intelligence enables you adequately ‘feel the pulse’ of the market for the first time, and involves set of procedures and sources you could utilize to obtain up-to-date information about goings-on in this marketing environment. It should indeed be perceived as a ‘blue print’ to offering a ‘safe landing’ and getting right the initial steps towards setting up a business of providing and marketing bullet proof glass windows in Nigeria.
Due to the sensitive nature of your product and related security implications, I will only restrict my response here to guiding you through a summary (below) of what the Marketing Intelligence effort will likely unravel, to aid your effective decisions about this market. Feel free to contact me if you require further details on any aspect of the summary here, and even local outfits that can assist you in achieving this:
This entails what comprise the importation requirements and other charges on the importation of bullet proof glass sheets; your business (or its representative) registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); a form of registration with the Nigeria Police – The rationale here is to guarantee that only desirable customers make purchases of the product; identification and registration of your staffers (handlers of sensitive functions), etc.
Product features (specifications)
Does your bullet proof glass (apart from the related frames) comprise of features at variance with these, to penetrate the market?:- Multiple layers of woven ballistic grade fibreglass cloth, thermo-set polyester resin, or made of polycarbonates; if product will be imported as flat sheets, later cut to required sizes and shapes (based on customized orders); if product is not below levels 2 or 3 bullet resistant fiberglass; range of ballistics resistance or protection levels 2 nach 8. Whether thickness will range from 5/16 inches to 7/16inches; weight, from 3.6lbs per sq. ft. to 4.9lbs per sq ft; then sheet size, 3ft. x 8ft. to 4ft. x 8ft.
The efforts at marketing intelligence will help ascertain if imported flat sheets can be cut to specific sizes here, then later assembled to suit customers’ requirements (z.B.. to typical windows dimension here of 6ft x 4ft; 4ft x 4ft; and 3ft x 3ft. – as cut , this as base measurements). If the immigration law allows for employment of Chinese technicians, since cutting and assemblage of this item is purely a specialized process, coupled with its security implications. Or authorize only the use of local technicians (endorsed by the manufacturers) for this purpose.
Space here does not allow for more remarks on other components of what you must look out for in the Marketing Intelligence efforts, however other aspects you require to apply are: Scope of Market (Size and concentration of customer segments); Going price levels; Internal distribution components; Availability of intermediaries; Mode of promotion; Competitive offering (Strengths and weaknesses); while I give some vital hints on Definition of customers/product exposure and Acceptance.
Qian, going by what you may have realized about happenings in Nigeria (z.B.. spade of security breaches, activities of dissenting groups, etc), I leave you to make out if your product will be relevant at this time, or not. Even where you ‘read between the lines’, I intend not to pre-empt any outcome of your marketing intelligence in the area of Customers or Product Exposure and Acceptance. Let me direct your thinking , to strengthen your conviction while giving room for the exercise to reveal the market situation (with regards to consumers), nach: Government-owned facilities; political office holders; top corporate executives, banks; super-markets or consumer goods retail outlets; and cash payment points.
In spite of the proven hospitality of Nigerians, please do not take the laws of the place for granted by ‘crossing the line’. A compatriot of yours, Wang Richard, and his associate, Fong Chiu Seu (a Taiwanese) did so with 450.4kg of imported cocaine (worth 4.2 billion Naira) recently, and were jailed for 15 years. There is plenty of room for legitimate foreign businessmen in Nigeria. Try and make the best of this opportunity. Start off with what I have stated here. You can still contact me on any aspect of creating the market for your bullet-proof glass windows. In anticipation, I welcome you to Nigeria.
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