Dow Corning expands Xiameter, refocuses on innovation

09 June 2009 16:54  [Source: ICIS news]


LONDON (ICIS news)--US-headquartered silicone giant Dow Corning is expanding the range of products offered through its online commodity website Xiameter and refocusing the company on an innovation-driven portfolio, it said on Tuesday.

The move to relaunch Xiameter was driven by downward pricing pressure on its bulk products, while the emphasis on innovation was in response to global trends and customer demands for more sustainable products, the company said.

Xiameter was set up in 2002 as a no-frills web-based ordering service offering limited product and sales support.

Klaus Hoffmann, Xiameter’s European president, said: “Competition [on pricing] was getting stronger even before the recession, especially on our standard products: the battle is on for those standard products.” He added that there was more competition from new players such as China’s Bluestar.

“This new model is set up for the long run. We will transfer more products to Xiameter as they mature. As products become more standard, price becomes a bigger issue so we will transfer them to Xiameter,” he added.

The number of products offered through Xiameter would double to 2,100, representing around one third of the company’s 7,000-strong product portfolio. Dow Corning also hoped to triple revenues from the website.

After the relaunch – scheduled for the middle of this year – Xiameter would also offer products in smaller quantities, Dow Corning said. The brand would be available through distributors for the first time.

The rest of Dow Corning would now emphasise innovation-driven products, with special attention being paid to opportunities offered by global trends identified by the company.

“We will deploy the Dow Corning brand in industry-leading technologies, [especially those focused] on the provision of clean energy, clean water and safe housing,” said John Lyon, Dow Corning’s executive director, geographic development.

A key focus would be solar energy. Lyon said this market had grown from $8bn in 2007 to $19bn this year. The company would be expanding solar capacity by 90% over four years, he added.

Lyon said that the company’s products would also be able to help alleviate increasing scarcity of water: “By 2030 we estimate around half the world’s population will live in areas of high water stress. We can find ways to cut the amount of water used in agriculture. Our new silicone rubbers help cut water loss by farmers by 40%,” he said.

A recent survey showed that for more than 65% of customers, developing green or sustainable products was within their top three priorities, he added.

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By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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