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Italy’s Abbiati is making friends in Asia thanks to personalised sales and service

Thursday, 16 February 2012 17:22
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(From left) Christophe Leparoux of Golden Cathay Consulting and Giorgio Abbiati, CEO of Abbiati Casino Equipment, at ICE 2012

Abbiati Casino Equipment’s recent success in clinching a 200,000-chip order from Sands China in Macau is just one element in the company’s growing profile across Asia. The family-run business based in Turin, Italy, last year also won orders for VIP tables in Singapore and table equipment in the Philippines.

Abbiati is being advised in Asia by sales and marketing consultant Christophe Leparoux, an 18-year veteran of the industry. Mr Leparoux, formerly Area Sales Manager and Director International Sales & Marketing for Gaming Partners International, now runs his own consultancy, Golden Cathay Consulting. Inside Asian Gaming spoke to Christophe Leparoux at Abbiati’s stand during ICE 2012 in London about his new role and what’s powering the company’s regional growth. 

IAG: What are the factors in Abbiati’s successful expansion into Asian markets?

Christophe Leparoux: People have heard about Abbiati and know that it’s a good brand. Abbiati has been in the gaming business for many many years. It has been very successful in Europe and always kept the same positioning; that is, high end products. It’s a family-run business but it’s grown a lot in the past few years—always keeping the level of quality and dedication to the products. This has brought Abbiati success in many markets in Europe and also in the United States—in the cruise ship market—and in South America. Now we want to move to the next level and show Asian customers Abbiati’s products and show those customers they can trust Abbiati.

Has the order to supply gaming chips to Sands Cotai Central helped in terms of marketing Abbiati’s products in the rest of Asia?

I think it certainly helped put Abbiati on the map so-to-speak. Now people also know that Abbiati and I have teamed up in Asia. The Venetian orders plus the other orders we had recently—for some high end tables at Marina Bay Sands and for equipment in the Philippines, shows the market that some very important operators trust us and are doing so for good reasons—not just to put pressure on other suppliers.

What’s the next step for Abbiati in Asian markets in the next six months or so?

Abbiati has a lot of opportunities to grow in Asia. The markets there are looking for alternatives. And if you can provide good alternative supplies for table games; in terms of chips, plaques and also for layouts and tables, then you have real opportunities to do business. We all know that there are lots of local sources for table equipment in Asia; but when operators want high-end tables for VIP rooms they know that Abbiati does the best tables in the world. The company is already very successful in Europe with the clubs in London for example, and with the cruise ship market in the US. This kind of quality hasn’t yet been seen very much in Asia, although recently we did four very nice high end tables for Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for their premium area. Like the table we’re sitting at here at ICE. 

What support will you be able to offer customers in Asia Pacific?

In terms of service the most important thing is to listen to what the customer requires and respond to that. Opening a local office and having someone on the spot doesn’t mean you have a better service. At the moment the Abbiati products—the plaques, the chips, even the layouts of the tables—don’t need any technical support as such. We do have a regional partnership for layouts with Gaming Concepts.

Tell us a little about the manufacturing side of Abbiati’s business.

All the manufacturing is at the company’s factory in Turin. Everything is under one roof and everything is done by Abbiati. It has good craftsmen—people who’ve been with the company for many years.

There’s no sub-contracting of manufacturing—and that’s becoming unusual now. Many people are sub-contracting or doing parts of their products here or there. We have quality products at a competitive price. We can produce them in large quantities and we have a good service provided by good people.

You mentioned earlier that Abbiati is a family firm. Why is that important?

The family knows what their core business is, and what their focus is. Everyone who knows Giovanni [Abbiati] the founder—and his son Giorgio— know what kind of people they are and how much they care about their customers.

It was my first time at ICE with Abbiati but I could see the level of relationship that people in the industry have with the Abbiati family. They are happy to see them because they get good service. It’s a really personal relationship; and it operates both ways.

In Asia especially, relationships are very important. It’s not about making a quick deal. In Asia time is very important. You don’t just come and knock on the door and say ‘Where’s the owner?’ It takes time to build up the relationship; to show your samples, and what you have to offer.

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