Helping European optics firms access global markets

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Collaboration with other regions raises the competitiveness of the European photonics industry, says Carlos Lee, director general of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC)

One of the most common questions we get asked is: ‘Is EPIC a European organisation or a global organisation?’ The question is not surprising, for anyone closely monitoring EPIC’s activities will notice that we make more than 20 trips outside of Europe and organise six events in the USA and Asia. In addition, some non-European companies have recently joined the association. Rest assured that the ‘E’ of EPIC matters, and we are and will always be an association with the main aim to support the competitiveness of the European photonics industry. This is why EPIC was founded and this is why the European Commission and European companies support us.

The next question is: ‘Why do non-European companies want to join EPIC, and why are they allowed to join the association?’ The world knows that Europe develops leading-edge photonics technologies and components, which is reflected in the large number of European exhibitors at international exhibitions. Also, almost half of the 635 acquisitions we have tracked in the last decade are of European companies. Being a member of EPIC means engaging with the best technologies, and EPIC welcomes non-European companies that bring value to the consortium, either by providing technologies not commercially available in Europe, or by providing local market knowledge.

EPIC is organising in early April a delegation trip to Israel, in conjunction with the Oasis conference and exhibition, and with the support of our association partner the Israel Association of Electronics and Information Industries that has a focus on photonics. In October, a delegation trip is scheduled to Singapore, in conjunction with the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific conference and exhibition, and also with the support of our national association partner, Lux Consortium.

EPIC delegation trips are composed of company visits, introductions to distributors, meetings with industry leaders and experts, and a visit to a local exhibition. As always, the fee to participate is minimal, as EPIC’s financial model relies on the membership fee of more than 450 companies. Being funded by the membership means that attention remains on bringing value to members.

We organise events in the USA in conjunction with SPIE Photonics West and OFC; in India in conjunction with Laser World of Photonics; and in China in conjunction with Laser World of Photonics in Shanghai, and Laserfair and CIOE in Shenzhen. Markets that we monitor but do not yet have planned activities include Russia and Brazil, and delegation trips to Japan and to Canada are being considered for next year. Markets that we know are of interest but have not yet engaged with due to lack of resources include South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Being a member of EPIC means connecting with the global photonics industry!