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Not only banks are acting close to the border of the permissible
There is a small company at the lake of Zurich, Switzerland who is fighting with printer tycoons such as HP, Canon and Epson
The company is specialized in imitating ink cartridges
Here you can see product copiers at work
Their goal: To imitate the expensive cartridges from the big printer manufacturers
and to sell them at prices much below the list price
We are analyzing this cartridge to offer a generica product as fast as possible
Usually this takes 3 months
Do you have no bad conscience?
The aim of the analysis is to know about the dimensions to make sure it fit's the printer
The inner parts and the ink of our cartridges is completely different, we have our own patent portfolio
Same as in the pharmaceutic business it's simply an alternative product or a generica not a copy
The big printer companies are making more money on supplies than on the printers
Some years ago Alfred Wirch, a former manager at Pelikan, discovered his entrepreneurial chance in this development.
Together with colleagues and some investors he took the chance and founded 3T Supplies AG
Such a printer you can buy for 70 to 80 $
and if you look into the ink cartridge you will find that the manufacturing costs must be very low
But the fact is: Over the typical usage time of 5 years the machine will cost you 500$
This was our chance, we founded the company together with colleagues
Step by step we developed the products and today we are offering each product for half of the price
In this business the devil sits in the details.
Wirch and his team would face multimillion lawsuits in case of only small patent violations
We never faced a patent law suit so fare which is a very important point in this business
There is a huge number of patents and this makes it very tough.
To show how we do this, let's have look at this really questionable patent
Here you can see the original cartridge. The colors magenta, cyan and yellow are arranged in form of a t-shape
This has been patented. Here you can see how we designed our product.
The form was changed. The patent is not applicable and we have no problem
Each and every printer needs his own special ink.
Alfred Wirch's company develops and manufactures it's own inks at Schindellegi close to Zurich
based on their own formulations
More and more the cartridges are sold with great success on the internet.
The special point is: Private persons may sell the ink through their own shop
which will become shops of Peach and they will get a provision for their sales
Our shopowners are house wifes, students, sports clubs.
They simply tell their friends, to buy ink cartridges on their shops at half price
With this concept we have great success and have doubled our sales in the last 12 months
Up to know the Swiss made ink cartridges have been available in Europe only.
But know the company has started a joint venture in Asia
From Ningbo, a province in the Southwest in China, Wirch wants to conquer the world
The reason for the start in China is the fact that this will become one of the biggest markets at all
and that we can deliver to chinese people very easy as well as to other asian markets
The joint venture partner Tianhong is located 40 minutes outside from Shanghai
In the meantime 3T has invested 1 Mio Sfr into the new company,
a lot of money for the small Swiss company with revenues of roughly 50 Mio CHF per year
Last year and after two negative experiences 3T found the right partner.
Both parties are adding their know how and products
Our part is to bring the know how to manufacture ink cartridges and the inks
Tianhong is adding the local know how.
How to found a company, to manage the people, to cope with the standards
Additionally we are selling his products in Europe
Tianhong has about 1200 employees and is one of the biggest companies in the area.
They are mainly focussing on traditional office products such as paper clips
The workers get about 300 $ per month
More modern working places are found in the Swiss Chinese joint venture
Since May about 80 workers are assembling ink cartridges according to Swiss Standards.
The current volume is 30'000 pcs./month and it should be a multiple within 5 years
A major advantage of the partnership: The cheap manufacturing of computer chips.
More and more the original manufacturers are equipping their cartridges with chips
Such computer chips you find more and more on ink cartridges.
This has increased the cost for the reengineering.
The R&D for such a chip costs more than 1 Mio. $
Additionally it costs a lot of time and delays the development process
The cost to manufacture such chips are much lower in China than in Europe
In consideration to the technical know how the partners
from Tianhong are helping 3T to overcome the Chinese bureaucracy
We know the authorities, the government supports our company
and we have a very good reputation in Ningbo.
For a western company it's very difficult to achieve this
The procedure to found the company took only 3 months
and a few dinners with the local authorities, a record even for western ratios
Thanks to the chinese partner Wirch could build close relations to the local government
The mayor has invited Wirch and his partners for dinner
Cooperations with western companies help to increase the standard of living in our region.
Additionally our companies are getting internationally known
This could also strengthen other companies in the region for example tourism
It is said in China nothing goes without kick backs
Alfred Wirch is aware of this, therefore: How much kick backs has he paid?
We haven't done anything. The visited us in Zurich and we invited them for dinner.
We couldn't even pay for their rooms, their pride didn't allow them to accept this
Chinese ink cartridges from this plant should conquer the world market at a price of about 7$
A Swiss Chines gauntlet towards the up to 10 times more expensive original manufacturers