Luminex Software Inc. has long done business abroad, but the Inland tech firm is making a special effort in the vast China market with a new subsidiary in Hong Kong. It is the company’s first international office, and it has its first employee: Kee Wing Wong, a computer storage industry veteran who will lead Luminex Software Hong Kong Ltd. as director of sales and technical services for the Asia-Pacific region. Luminex Software Inc. has long done business abroad, but the Inland tech firm is making a special effort in the vast China market with a new subsidiary in Hong Kong.
Luminex, headquartered in Riverside, provides disk-based storage technology that enables financial firms, government facilities and other large organizations to condense data stored on mainframe storage tapes. Founded in 1994, the company employs nearly 50 people on a permanent, full-time basis. About a third of them are in Riverside. Luminex has a second office in San Diego as well as field engineers and other support personnel scattered around the country. The company reported revenues of more than $10 million in 2010 and was on track last year to increase that by 50 percent. The company declined to provide updated figures.
Brian Hawley, a co-founder who serves as chairman and chief technology officer, said in markets such as Japan and South Korea the company has struck deals with distributors who handle in-country sales and service. But in China, Hawley said, it’s important the company have a local presence to deal directly with customers.
Hawley, who also is chairman of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, said the Chinese data-storage market is largely untapped, so there is tremendous potential for growth. Indeed, California exports to China jumped to $14.19 billion last year, up from $9.74 billion in 2009 and more than any other U.S. state, according to a recent report. Nationally, exports to China totaled $103.88 billion, up from $69.5 billion two years earlier.
“The Chinese market is ripe for our product, and we can’t sit back and handle it from the states,” Hawley said. Aside from the geographic distance, he said, the company needs to bridge cultural and language distances by employing people who are native speakers and understand the way business is done there.
Hawley said Wong, who has worked in mainframe storage sales and technical services for more than 18 years, is well connected to local industry and has given the company a better understanding of what the opportunities are.
The company began establishing the subsidiary a few months ago and will outsource human resources, payroll and other functions. Hawley said the Hong Kong operation could grow to as many as 10 people if things go well.