The Tables Have Turned—Brazilian Company Acquires Major Share in Chinese Manufacturer

History has been made this September as RHB Import has become the only company in Brazil to specialize its own production line for the importation and distribution of compatible cartridges and supplies. This important step in the company’s search for excellence comes following its acquisition of a major share in an important Chinese compatible Brother cartridge manufacturer—an unusual turn of events as it is usually the Chinese companies that do the acquiring.

Compatible supplies refer to new built cartridges where 100 percent of components are new. This differs with the traditional Aftermarket distribution model where third-party supplies were all remanufactured, using components from used cartridges and replacing worn parts, toners or inks. Compatible cartridges are only manufactured in China and, more recently, in Russia. They have a mixed reputation when it comes to quality, price, and the infringement of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) patents and intellectual property rights.

Following exclusive talks with RHB Import’s CEO, Rodolfo Villas Boas, RT Media can reveal the main reason for this move is to have a partner company in China that will develop a specific line of products for the MPS segment in Brazil—a move that is sure to differentiate them from others who are distributing compatible supplies from China in the country.

RHB Import already has a notable presence in Brazil. Along with a newly constructed logistics and administrative centre in the capital of Paraná, the company also has a logistics centre in Santa Catarina and offices in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza, and now has the major share in the technical development and quality inspection laboratory in China. But, according to Villas Boas, this move brings “yet another advantage” to the Brazilian market—buying directly from the manufacturer.

There is no doubt this is a vital milestone for RHB Import, however the major debate over ‘Remans vs. New Builds’ remains. “The tendency of the Brazilian market is to work with the new build compatibles due to the labor cost and stability of the product,” says the CEO when asked about the industry hot topic. Villas Boas claims RHB Import “is working with customers in order to show the better results of using new builds.” In an increasingly competitive global market, companies have to stay at the top of their game if they want to survive and thrive in the consumables industry. Villas Boas told RT Media there is fierce competition in the Brazilian market and for that reason “cost and quality are very important”.

He doesn’t expect this competition to slow down. In fact, it will be quite the opposite. In the view of Villas Boas, companies “will be required to invest in technology and the rapid launch of products” if they are to keep up. This is an interesting insight into the current situation in the Brazilian market. One thing is for sure, it provides a ‘snapshot’ of the issues being faced by other companies all over the world: they must stay on top of the ‘Reman vs. New build’ affair if they don’t want to fall behind.

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