Christie, a global visual technology company, has announced the opening of a new office in South Africa – its first in the Southern hemisphere.

The setting up of Christie’s new office in Africa, effective from June 1st, 2012, underpins the company’s long commitment to the territory. This new office will provide facilities for demonstrations, customer and Partner training, as well as inventory management.

The move has been in the planning for almost a year, and Dale Miller, Christie EMEA Vice President, said: “Over the last 3 years we have been working to develop the right relationships to grow our business. As an organisation we invest heavily in training and believes this lies at the heart of quality service and support. So we look to the same commitments from our Partners.’ He adds, “Just over a year ago Stage Audio Works put their service team through our advanced level service training to become Christie’s first Certified Partner in South Africa. In addition to their investment in a significant spares and product inventory, Stage Audio Works went and took the Christie training they had received to their own customers both in South Africa and in Africa. That’s when we knew we were ready to make additional investments. And we are looking forward to developing further programmes with Stage Audio Works and other like minded Partners.’

Heading the operation as Territory Manager, Africa, will be Phil Lord, a 12-year veteran of Christie, who has spent half that time in South Africa. “Christie is committed and dedicated to supporting the African market,’ he says. “And with the help of our Partners we have been growing the business for some time. We all felt there were additional commercial opportunities that could be realised by further Christie investment and now is the time to add extra resources.’

The new operation will be based at Fourways, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Alongside office and service facilities, it will provide larger space for product demonstrations, training and storage of critical spares inventory for our Partners to draw on. As with other Christie branch offices, Christie Africa will offer an open door policy to Partners and customers who can use the facilities for their own customer meetings.
Phil Lord confirms that logistically, Johannesburg represents the obvious base. “It is the “central hub’ for business in South Africa and the best location for supporting the Africa territories.’

“Christie believes that the African market has massive growth potential over the next ten years, and investing in local resources and training now will ensure that Christie will be well placed to enjoy the benefits of that expansion over a longer term, and establish Christie as a major player within the African continent.’

The advantages of creating a dedicated Christie office are self-evident. “We will be able to offer local technical and customer support as well as quick response times to our trusted Partners and end users – with more efficient service’ continues Lord, who will be supported by experienced office manager Annalise Hodgson, as well as a local technical engineering resource, in addition to Christie’s extensive, global service resources.

Christie, through its existing Partner network, including Stage Audio Works, will sell, service and support the African continent (as far as Egypt) including the Indian Ocean and Israel, the only exceptions being the French-speaking North African countries, which will be managed by the Christie office in France.

“Trusted Partners like Stage Audio Works has been putting a tremendous amount of time and effort to educate the market in the last couple of years, and the opening of the Christie new office in South Africa will only reinforce the flourishing business relationship with this loyal, cornerstone Partner in the region.’ Lord concludes.

Commenting on the new office, Gustav Barnard, Stage Audio Works Technical and Education Manager said: “Our position as a distributor of professional AV equipment is key within South Africa and the African continent. We have contributed to develop the Christie brand in the region to a diverse range of customers by providing them the technical support they need, holding product stock and offering real value-added solutions including financing and Stage Plus flightcases for a gig-ready package. We are looking forward to having Christie on board locally to support us and strengthen our position further.

ProSystems magazine 3rd Quarter 2012