Interview with LAMI Founder: Adapting to Regulations and Global Expansion
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The IEICE e-cigarette exhibition was held in Jakarta, Indonesia from August 3rd to 5th. As the official media partner of this IEICE event, 2FIRSTS conducted in-depth interviews with key exhibitors on-site and promptly reported firsthand market information obtained at the exhibition.
LAMI, a company specializing in e-cigarettes, completed the necessary compliance procedures in the UK in early October last year. They were waiting to go public and also planned to showcase their new products at the Vaper Expo, an exhibition for e-cigarettes in the UK. This move was aimed at expanding their market presence in the e-cigarette industry in the UK. At the same time, LAMI's products were already available in some Eastern European countries, distributed by local dealers. The company was also accelerating its compliance process and market expansion in other European countries, excluding Eastern Europe. In late October last year, LAMI began introducing its product range to the Southeast Asian market. Over the past year, what changes has LAMI undergone? How has it evolved? What are its future plans? 2FIRSTS had the opportunity to interview the founder and CEO of LAMI, He Chang, on August 5th to find out more.
Proactively embracing change, Hec Chang, the CEO of 2FIRSTS, has acknowledged that his company has been in an "adaptive" mode since the implementation of the new e-cigarette regulations in China over half a year ago. Adapting to the changing regulatory landscape is crucial as this year is seen as the "year of compliance" globally, with each country devising regulations for e-cigarettes. In the first half of this year, the company's main objective was to adjust its product strategy in accordance with the regulations set by different countries, ensuring compliance. Compliance is the cornerstone in capturing market opportunities. Chang used an analogy, likening the company's current business operations to maneuvering around hidden obstacles in order to steer the ship safely and reach new horizons.
Similarly, for international development, it is crucial for companies to comply with local regulations and requirements, adapt to local scrutiny, and adhere to the increasingly stringent global regulations on e-cigarettes. Compliance plays a vital role in the growth of businesses in the current regulatory landscape.
Compliance is a fundamental capability, it is like the digit 1, while everything else is a zero. Without the digit 1, no matter how many zeros there are, it is meaningless for the development of a company.
After the implementation of the "mandatory national standards for e-cigarettes" on October 1, 2022, the operating ecosystem of e-cigarettes in China has undergone significant changes.
After the domestic regulations were introduced, the company faced increased requirements and had to actively respond and adjust in order to achieve better development.
He Cha ng, an expert in the field, suggests that prior to the implementation of domestic regulatory policies, most companies in the Chinese market primarily adopted a mindset focused on explosive sales and competition with similar products.
According to him, in the international market, companies can no longer create products solely based on creating explosive successes. Instead, everyone is adopting a probabilistic approach to exploring the market.
This approach is much more efficient than the previous domestic market's best-selling sales model. Unlike the domestic market, the overseas market has unpredictable and rapidly changing demands. This method is better suited to adapt to the overseas market.
Global expansion is a key strategy for the company, as emphasized by the spokesperson. The primary focus of the company's growth is on e-liquid, ensuring the quality of distinct flavors.
Over the past year, Lami has actively pursued overseas markets in accordance with regulations of various countries. While achieving satisfactory results in the European market, represented by the United Kingdom, and the Japanese market, the company also intends to further focus on Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia. However, it is important to note that the domestic market remains crucial, and Lami will continue to adjust its development strategy in accordance with policies.
Our product entered the European market last year and performed well in the UK. The Japanese market also showed promising results, and there has been some improvement in the Middle Eastern market. However, I believe that due to undergoing a transition and adjustment phase, the domestic market has yet to be fully stimulated.
He Chang claims that the company insists on launching products with Chinese cultural design elements. The Japanese market readily embraces this "guochao" trend, as it not only embodies the essence of Chinese culture but also carries an oriental flair.
Apart from Japan, this Eastern culture also attracts users in Southeast Asia. Currently, the Indonesian market is primarily an open market. The group has decided to launch a "combination attack" in Indonesia, promoting not only e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products but also alcoholic beverages and traditional cigarette products throughout the Indonesian market.
Focus on offline marketing to increase brand exposure. Lami has marketing campaigns on social platforms like TikTok and Instagram, as well as collaborations with the British OTO (online to offline) platform. Users can even order Lami through British food delivery platforms.
In Japan, L'Ami enters multiple drugstores, while in Indonesia, it collaborates with local distributors.
He Chang, the spokesperson, stated that LaiMi will focus its marketing efforts on offline channels in the future.
At present, it is crucial for us to establish brand recognition in the market, especially by further developing a network of capable distributors, in order to introduce Lami to a wider audience of users.
When asked about how Laimi has built its brand image overseas, He Chang believes that a brand requires long-term investment. "The idea is that we all form a mindset, and that is the brand.
Modestly speaking, Lami is not yet able to establish itself as a brand overseas. Lami has not yet achieved instant recognition among all foreign consumers. Establishing a brand requires a continuous investment of funds, and we will continue to work hard on this.
He Chang mentioned that the future focus will be on improving brand recognition.
He Chang, the company's spokesperson, stated that the keyword for this year is "seek change," aiming to make the overseas market a key project. He also mentioned that next year's keyword could be "adaptability," hoping that the company will fully adjust to the overseas market and respond flexibly to its dynamics.
But the one thing that remains constant is our commitment to producing e-liquids, creating flavors, as this is our competitive advantage.
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