on january 21, ms. veronica iliescu, ceo of cablescom, participated in the program “this is ours” of aragón radio and talked about the history, especially the 50th anniversary milestone, of cablescom and the importance of international business for the company.
she also mentioned how cablescom team and hengtong are moving forward together. "aragon is strongly committed to the relationship with china and at cablescom we are privileged to be able to enhance it," said veronica.
here is the translated report from hoy aragon’s website:
"aragon is strongly committed to the relationship with china and at cablescom we are privileged to be able to enhance it"
for the past four years, cablescom has been part of the chinese giant hengtong group, the world's third largest producer of fiber optics, and has become its most important base in europe. and the company is in the top 80 of aragonese companies, with a turnover in 2020 of 53 million euros.
veronica iliescu, ceo of cablescom, reviews for today the keys of development of the company, how they have successfully coped with the problems generated by the covid-19 and the future plans of an industry, that of wiring, key in this new digital age.
how is a company in which 75% of customers are outside spain organized in front of the pandemic?
obviously it has been a difficult year and we have had to adapt in record time both internally and externally. we had never teleworked and i have to say that the result has been very good. thanks to belonging to hengtong group, we saw in advance what was happening in china and, for example, we pioneered nationally in taking the temperature to our equipment. it is worth noting the response we have had from the workers.
as for how we have organized ourselves outwards, we find that customers were also in the same situation and we had to adapt to manage orders. we've moved on to new markets, that's without traveling and without going to fairs. in 2020, turnover was 53 million euros, when in 2019 it was 70 million euros. taking into account the situation, it has been a good year, in which we have obtained new clients thanks to the professionals of the sector know us.
what indications would you give to a local company that wants to make its way into the foreign market?
first, get information about the markets they're interested in. as an example: our customers often want the same thing, but the way they work is different. you have to know how they buy and what they're interested in. in short: you have to sell the way the customer wants to buy.
we have very well trained commercial technicians, who are able to manage several clients at once. we also have local help from agents and distributors abroad, which allow us to understand how to work in different countries and can reach the customer faster to solve a problem that you may arise.
"you have to sell the way the customer wants to buy"
when you show up in front of a customer who doesn't know you, you make a promise to them, and they have to be 100% sustained, supported and defended by the infrastructure behind you. that i think has been the success of our company.
which countries does cablescom export to majorly?
in recent years mainly to france, and also to countries such as italy, the united kingdom, portugal or belgium.
and how is brexit affecting them?
we are currently studying it, although our sales volume to the uk is not as relevant. it must be said that there is quite no-know-how in general.
what products cablescom produces are competitive and why?
we manufacture, among other products, a fiber optic cable for telecommunications networks that has the peculiarity of being both air and duct. it is, as an example, like having a frying pan that serves both induction and ceramic hob. this makes it much easier for our customers, mainly telephony and internet operators, as well as installers to perform.
in 2021 cablescom turns 50. what have been the company's milestones throughout its history?
i like to highlight the variety of shareholders we have had, because for us it has been very enriching. we were founded in 1971 by telefónica and the american group general cable. later we were acquired by the british group bicc cable, now defunct and, years later, we were part of the american group corning, specializing in fiber optics. in 2000 we joined the shareholding of the american group altron, until 2016, when for strategic reasons they disinvested and hengtong group acquired cablescom.
and how have products evolved?
in 1971 we started out as a 100% telephony copper cable factory. in 1982 we started the manufacture of fiber optics. in fact, the first fiber optic cable that was installed in zaragoza, in the area of el portillo, was manufactured by us.
in the construction of the first ave between madrid and seville our cable was also used in the signage facilities. in fact, to this day, 50% of the ave signalling network in spain is manufactured by us, here in zaragoza.
"50% of the ave signalling network in spain is manufactured by us, here in zaragoza"
what is the relationship like with your chinese shareholders?
we belong to a very large group, the third largest fiber optic manufacturer in the world, which is listed on the shanghai stock exchange and is highly recognized in their country. when they bought us, they were quite unknown in our market. we have worked to enhance the group's presence in aragon, spain and europe, and in fact we are its main development platform on the continent.
but we don't forget that we're in zaragoza and aragon. the community is strongly committed to the relationship with china and we are privileged to be able to enhance it in both ways.
we have worked within very different cultures and that has come very well for us. today, belonging to a chinese group teaches us how to work in different ways. within fairly strict rules, they have given us a lot of autonomy and we have managed to make ourselves understood.
there is an effort on both sides to learn. from the initial concern we might have, today we can say that very big steps have been taken.
"belonging to a chinese group teaches us how to work in different ways"
is the future wireless?
it is, but the cable's not going away. fiber optic connections will also be required with 5g networks. in addition, apart from the cable, 5g will require other elements of which we can be providers globally, as well as the services involved.
in this sense, we work to achieve alliances with companies related to us. for example, we are part of itainnova's gacela program to enhance innovation and new business opportunities, where we can bring the strength of our know-how. we are also attached to the mobility city project of fundación ibercaja.
for original text in spanish, see:
if you want to listen to the interview, click here, from the 10th minute: