Relationships between World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) and its clients are “for keeps.” WTCGP helps many clients in their first efforts to enter international markets – and then, over years, helps those same clients expand into new markets and grow their businesses.
VideoRay LLC is a great example: WTCGP began advising and working with VideoRay upon its founding in 1999. “Basically,” says VideoRay Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Chris Gibson, “WTCGP has been with us from our beginning.”
Based in Pottstown, PA, VideoRay manufactures portable inspection class underwater robots for use in port security, law enforcement, force protection, offshore oil and gas, hydroelectric, science and research, ship inspection, nuclear, and other markets where clients need to know underwater data and activity.
WTCGP initially supported VideoRay by conducting market research on global standards and certifications; identifying distributors for the company’s products; coordinating its participation in trade shows overseas; and procuring trade counseling and connections in the countries Video Ray was considering as potential export markets. Specific examples of support included arranging hotels and electric generators in Japan for demonstrations to industry and military buyers, as well as document authentication for Saudi Arabian transactions. Countries where assistance has been provided included Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Norway, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, Germany, Japan, India, and China, among others. Gibson notes, “WTCGP helped us in each of the 45 countries and international markets where VideoRay is working.”
Two recent examples include a $1.5 million order from the French Navy for Autonomous Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Systems Navy and a $1 million contract from the Indian Navy for a Military Configured ROV. For the India deal, WTCGP facilitated PA Authorized Trade Representatives support for market research and dealer selection, as well as advising on export procedures, including bank guarantees and performance bond placement, with which VideoRay was not familiar. In addition, WTCGP has also connected VideoRay with other resources, including individuals with specialized expertise in freight and export licensing.
Educational programming has also been key for VideoRay. “We have attended several educational programs – we attended a Chinese business roundtable through WTCGP’s China Operations Club,” Gibson says. “WTCGP has helped us quite a bit with China. When we set up business relationships with the dealer five years ago, WTCGP vetted companies and went to potential dealers’ China-based offices to discuss possible partnerships.”
VideoRay also participates in WTCGP and PA-led trade missions and trade shows to nations where the company has established relationships. A sample of shows included Rio Oil and Gas Shows in 2008, 2010, and 2012, as well Oceanology International in the UK in 2014. The PA Authorized Trade Representative in the UK assisted with many aspects of establishing a dealer in Norway by counseling VideoRay at the show. The counsel of WTCGP’s trade specialists has been particularly helpful as VideoRay begins to develop new markets. “When our company is developing new vertical markets – not in new countries, but with a new product line – we rely on WTCGP for information that helps us understand different business opportunities within a country with which we are already familiar.”
“VideoRay has really benefited from our relationship with the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia,” Gibson says. “The knowledge of exports that their trade specialists possess is wide and deep – they have decades of experience facilitating connections between U.S. companies and businesses outside our nation; an ability to educate companies on exports and international trade in a way that is really customized to each company’s needs; and, beyond all of that, invaluable global contacts to explore partnerships overseas. WTCGP has helped pave the way for VideoRay to thrive in today’s global economy.”