A fortuitous series of events has allowed boutique distributor, Aria Technologies, to take its first big step overseas and set-up a South African presence.
The company, which is LG-Nortel’s exclusive distributor in Australia, was presented with an opportunity to expand the relationship after the IP phone vendor’s South African distributor, Ericsson, sold its PBX business to Aastra last year.
Aria has leased an office building in Midrand, South Africa, which will initially house 15 staff, and is run by managing executive, Hannes Viljoen. The facility will have tech labs and full sales support.
Beyond some minor business in the Pacific Islands (Fiji, New Caledonia), Aria has not previously operated outside of Australia, its general manager, Rob Pierce, said. The appointment in South Africa will open up additional sub-Saharan markets, such as Mozambique, Botswana and Nigeria, as those economies develop, he said.
“For the first year, we’re looking at around $15 million in sales,” Pierce said. “After that, we’d be looking at 10 per cent growth per year.”
Although a definite growth opportunity, Aria would be selective about future international expansion.
“As opportunities present themselves, we will consider expansion if it makes logical sense,” Pierce said. “It would make no sense for us to set-up shop in Iceland, for instance, but from a cultural and technological point of view, South Africa and Australia are similar, so we can cross resource.”
Aria’s growth strategy in 2009 saw the company expand off the east coast into Perth, and redouble efforts around its ShoreTel vendor partnership to complement its mature LG-Nortel presence.