IQAir-China CEO Mike Murphy. Photo: Courtesy of IQAir-China
Mike Murphy (Murphy) introduced the air purifier brand IQAir to Chinese markets, and has increasingly experienced success since then. The CEO of IQAir-China sat down to talk to Metropolitan (MB) about the struggles and successes he has faced.
MB: Can you share with us your life experience? How did the idea occur to you to introduce IQAir to the China market?
Murphy: I have been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. By US standards, I grew up in a poor family. As my father left when I was young, I watched my mother struggle to make ends meet. Throughout my teens and into my twenties I worked in my own business as a landscape gardener—mowing lawns, planting flowers, trimming trees, and weeding gardens.
I married my Chinese wife in 2002 and we relocated to Beijing in 2003. As a parent of two young children, I was increasingly concerned about the air quality my kids were breathing. I spent the whole year researching air quality issues and air purifier products. Then I knew IQAir stood out as the very best product on the market. I flew to Switzerland and met with the IQAir manufacturer and we were able to put together a deal. In the first year we were able to sell four times our estimate and we have been working exclusively with them now for the past seven years.
MB: What factors contribute to the success of a new business venture in China?
Murphy: Success in the market depends on the support of staff, an enterprise culture and the maximum utilization of team spirit. I was fortunate when we started this business because I was able to sell our products primarily within the expat community. This allowed my skills to grow and our cash flow to stay positive, while at the same time building up my team and learning how to play the game of doing business in China. We have been able to stay focused and keep things in perspective. All efforts and far-sighted thought contribute to the success of IQAir in Chinese markets.
MB: What do you think of your philosophy on work and life?
Murphy: As an entrepreneur, I believe that work and life are inseparable. I am constantly thinking about new business ideas, better marketing strategies, new technologies, new efficiencies, and so on - it never stops. My whole life I have either been reading about business or speaking to other successful business people, trying to figure out how to turn my dreams into reality. To me, this is something I enjoy and have never considered it work, but rather a part of who I am. Of course I take my fair share of vacations to rest, relax and recharge, but at the end of the day I draw far more energy from doing successful business than I do from a couple of weeks of holiday.
MB: How does IQAir shape its own product to become the best and most efficient air purifier in the market?
Murphy: As the distributor of IQAir products in China, we don't actually produce the units we sell. All IQAir products are made in Switzerland by a family-run business that has been in the air cleaning industry for more than fifty years. Their team of engineers strives for nothing less than perfection. The attention to detail and high quality standards that go into creating our high performance products is second to none. All IQAir products are built to perform at the highest standards in the industry from the first day you turn the unit on clear through the last day of your filters life expectancy.