By Ken Elkins firstname.lastname@example.org Charlotte Business Journal
CommScope executives believe the Hickory connectivity company is positioned well as consumers and businesses require more and more bandwidth.
“Smartphones, social networks, cloud computing, mobile video and network-connected ‘everyday gadgets’ are changing how we connect to each other and creating a future filled with even more promising lifestyle and business innovations,” says Eddie Edwards, CEO of CommScope Inc.
With an important acquisition last year, about half of CommScope’s (NASDAQ: COMM) products and services are sold outside the United States.
Edwards responded to a list of questions about selling those products. Here are his responses:
How do you target markets for international sales?
CommScope has a robust international business. On average, about half of our business is inside the United States and half outside the U.S. We enable and empower many of the top-performing wireless, telecommunications, business enterprise, broadband and cable television networks in existence today. The most advanced networks run on CommScope technology, serving customers in more than 100 nations. We target markets where customers have challenging network needs and can benefit from CommScope’s expertise. We focus on delivering connectivity and wireless solutions to solve these networking needs anywhere in the world.
Where have you seen the biggest opportunity?
The transformational TE Connectivity’s BNS acquisition, which closed August of last year, places CommScope as a global leader in fiber optic connectivity for telecom and cable TV networks, as well as for enterprises. As a global leader in both fiber optic and wireless connectivity now, we are positioned well for the convergence of networks over the next several years. The pace of change in networking has never been higher. Consumers and data-driven businesses are to thank for that, as demand for bandwidth continues to grow steadily. It is a digital revolution that is dramatically changing all facets of our lives, and robust networks of all types are enabling this to happen.
Describe the challenges of exporting from the Charlotte region.
CommScope is a global manufacturer with more than 30 manufacturing and distribution facilities around the world. With our worldwide headquarters in Hickory and major manufacturing facilities in the area, CommScope maintains a strong presence in North Carolina. The Charlotte region has an immense amount of engineering talent and — with Charlotte Douglas International Airport — business travel is convenient. Today, we are among the state’s largest publicly traded companies and employ approximately 1,900 people in the state and more than 25,000 people around the world. Our large global footprint gives us an important regional presence in all of our major markets. We use our global presence to serve customers around the world. One of the key and perhaps most underappreciated strengths that we have is our world-class manufacturing capability. Our flexible and cost-effective global manufacturing footprint helps us react faster to competition and changes in the market.
Do you see your company expanding into new markets in the next year?
We always look for ways to grow profitably. We are currently focused on developing new approaches for deploying fiber networks that can significantly reduce the cost of deployment. We are also focused on providing new technologies for adding density to wireless networks — both indoors and outdoors. As communications networks evolve, they are becoming significantly more complex. We invest more than $200 million a year in research and development to help our customers transition to these networks of the future. We believe that fiber and wireless technology will be key building blocks of the networks of the future.
What concerns you about the global economy right now?
In markets outside of the U.S., we remain cautious given global economic uncertainties, specifically in Europe, Middle East and Latin America. Despite the current conditions we remain optimistic.
Ken Elkins covers manufacturing, international business and economic development for the Charlotte Business Journal.