Photo Caption: On the Left (Dr.Bernhard Wuestner– TW Audioe Bus.Developer and Co-Managing partner) and on the Right (Mr.Farid Dagher -General Manager)
Pro-Audio is indeed a rising segment in the AV industry with massive growth potential in the coming years due to the iconic projects being developed in the Middle East in anticipation of Qatar’s hosting of the Fifa World Cup 2022 and Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Bernhard Wuestner, Co-Managing Partner, TW AUDiO Germany, and Farid Dagher, General Manager, TW AUDiO Middle East, talks us through the story behind their audio company and their growing presence in the Middle East.
Can you give us some background on TW AUDiO? How would you compare yourself to other pro-audio producers?
Wuestner: TW AUDiO is a German company established in 2004 by my brother Tobias Wuestner. Tobias stepped into the music industry at an early age when he was a drummer. At that time, our older brothers, who were guitarists, pushed Tobias to use his skills in sound engineering. This granted him his first experience in that field as well.
Later on, Tobias worked for several AV rental companies, then as an FOH sound and tuning engineer in Germany and internationally. After more than two decades of experience in this industry, he decided to establish his own company, TW AUDiO.
Unquestionably, all this experience has helped Tobias to create a dedicated premium sound.
In 2008, I joined the company as Co-Managing Partner. Since then, we both are heading the family-owned company together. Tobias as product developer and I as business developer are always driven by our passion for extraordinary sound and innovative technology.
Can you tell us about the added value of your products when compared to other pro-audio products in the market?
Wuestner: Developing a premium pro-audio speaker is easier said than done. Beside the sound quality, which of course is the central point, you also have to think about required Sound Pressure Levels (SPL), weight, dimension, design, applications, accessories, time to set up, needs of the customers etc. etc.
All our speakers have an unmatchable high SPL ratio compared to size and weight. This is a big advantage as it is not practical to carry around big and heavy boxes. In addition, very often the available space for speakers and the working load of ceilings are limited. Time to set up speakers can also be crucial. We take care of all these details when we develop new speakers. For us, it is the quality that matters rather than the quantity.
Are there any new products you are currently working on?
Wuestner: We are working constantly on new products. Normally, we release 2 to 3 new speakers per year as it requires a lot of time to do it right. We have just released a new speaker called T20, a double 10-inch speaker, which could be hanged vertically or horizontally in clubs, especially with lower ceilings. It has an extraordinary high SPL/size-ratio with a very defined sound.
Moreover, we are currently developing an installation series for outdoors; this requires a special water-resistant enclosure. In this case, we cannot use wood, and must replace it with another material. This installation series will be released next year.
What drove you to open an office for TW Audio in the Middle East? Why did you choose Dubai?
Wuestner: The Middle East region constitutes a huge and prosperous market, so we believe there is potential in this region for us to benefit and provide our products to people in this part of the world.
Dubai is the central hub for the Arab world financially and economically. It is the place to be, as it is easy to access other countries from Dubai and vice versa. Moreover, Dubai is politically stable, safe, and establishing a company in Dubai is very simple.
How do you assess the Pro-Audio market in the Middle East and what are your growth plans for the next 5 years?
Dagher: In the Middle East, the pro-audio industry is still in its infancy and is extremely decentralized. In terms of the market as a whole, the size of the pro-audio and pro-visual market accounts for roughly USD 2.4 billion in the Middle East and is growing rapidly. We are looking at a 15% growth rate per year from now up until the Expo 2020, and the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
What territories will TW Audio Middle East be servicing?
Dagher: The territories include the entire Arabian Peninsula including Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, and also Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.
What would be your strategy to step into the major markets in the region and what are the criteria that you follow when choosing a local partner?
Dagher: The key is to find competent local distributors in each of these countries. In doing so, it is crucial to find the right people in the right companies, which means people with adequate technical skills who understand their own local market, and are well known in the industry. Furthermore, you also have to look at the financial stability of these companies, and if this all comes together, then you have a good combination.
Do you have any existing distributors in the region? How have they helped you in penetrating the market?
Wuestner: Overall, we have representatives and distributors in more than forty countries across the world. In the Arabian region, we have Pro Lab in the UAE and Al Isteklal in Qatar. Both are very well connected in their countries and have been successfully working in the rental and installation markets for several years.
What are some of the projects or installations that TW Audio products are represented in within the Middle East?
Wuestner: The rental customers from our distributors are doing jobs almost on a daily basis. From smaller projects up to bigger events, for instance, Santana’s event last year and Rita Ora’s event in Yas Island. In the installation sector, there are a lot of projects in nightclubs, lounges, restaurants, hotels, and wedding halls. For example, roof-top lounge at Kempinski Hotel and several high class restaurants on the Pearl Island in Qatar, Étoiles at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, Toy Room, Morjana Club, Cash Club, Purobeach, Asia Asia in Dubai, wedding hall in Ajman, and many others.
Do you plan any further expansion through representative offices elsewhere?
Wuestner: We have just opened an office in Malaysia, which is our local hub for the Southeast Asian region in terms of support, training, service, and marketing. Shortly, we will open a TW AUDiO office in India, and we are planning to open an office in the USA next year. Thus, we are trying to present ourselves in all key markets.
About Dr. Bernhard Wuestner:
Dr. Bernhard Wuestner is the Business Developer and Co-Managing Partner of TW AUDiO Germany.
Prior to TW AUDiO, he worked as CPA and CFO for several multinational companies.
Dr. Bernhard Wuestner studied economics in Heidelberg University and received a scholarship from Stanford University.
About Farid Dagher
Farid Dagher is the General Manager of TW Audio Middle East. Prior to TW Audio Middle East, he worked as Business Development Manager and Sales Manager for various multinational companies. He studied business administration in the University of Windsor, Ontario Canada.