Having recently taken up the post of VP of International Sales for Africa and Asia, Novomatic’s Sonya Nikolova discusses her plans and objectives going forward, including building on existing relationships in the region, further developing brand awareness, and expanding her team of dedicated professional on the ground.
Casino Review: Congratulations on your new role as VP of International Sales for Africa and Asia, could you tell us more about some of your goals for the new position and a brief overview of a few of the initiatives you’ll be looking to introduce during your tenure?
Sonya Nikolova: Asia and Africa are emerging markets for Novomatic with huge potential and I am really excited to grow the business in these areas. I am already familiar with the markets and have lots of contacts there that will help achieve my goals. In my new position, I will develop my existing relationships in the regions and work to strengthen Novomatic brand awareness throughout an extended portfolio of targeted products, services and turnkey solutions.
The first priority is to establish a strong team of industry professionals, who will be in the position to enhance the understanding of products as well as customer care and support on a local level. The second is to shape up the sales and marketing strategy to feature flexibility and timely response to the respective market dynamics, but also to extend the business outreach in all legal and regulated market segments.
CR: You recently attended G2E Asia – how was this year’s show for Novomatic, what were some of your product highlights and what kind of feedback did you receive from visitors?
SN: G2E Asia was a great success for us this year to spotlight a selection of our latest products, designed and tailored to Asian market preferences, including the new Panthera 2.27 and Panthera Curve 1.43 cabinets with a raft of Asian-themed games and linked progressive concepts, as well as bestsellers and classics like the Dominator 3.24 and leading games and game mixes. An Electronic Table Games setup on the Novo Line Novo Unity II platform was also demonstrated with improved features and functionality add-ons that comply with the latest trends.
A point of big interest was the casino management solution myACP, which is one of the most complete and modern turnkey solutions in the gaming industry, enabling real-time control, smart business process management as well as full connectivity of all types of slots and table games.
CR: More broadly, what are your focuses in the Asia-Pacific region this year?
SN: The major focus in the Asia-Pacific region for 2019 is to introduce the full range of our dedicated products with key customers and to maintain suitable marketing and customer communication related to major product launches and support on the floor.
CR: What kind of business successes has your company achieved in Asia in the past 12 months?
SN: The most important deals and contracts included for Vietnam and South Korea, which were big achievements considering the project constraints due to regulatory adaptations. On Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island, for example, Novomatic became the premium technology partner of the new Corona Casino and installed approximately 200 Novomatic and Ainsworth slot machines, 125 electronic table games, the myACP casino management system as well as media technology solutions.
CR: What would you identify as the distinctive features of the Asian markets – where do you think the market is leading in terms of consumer trends and what are players and operators looking for?
SN: The diversity of business opportunities in Asia has been growing for the past few years, but the significant trends that would define the industry perspectives for the future would include the multi-channel betting solutions for players. In line with this, operators are searching for complete solutions and collaboration with leading suppliers, whose added value can bring leading technologies, experiences and high-end standards implemented into the business approach.
CR: In which markets does Novomatic operate in the Asia Pacific region? Do you sell directly to these markets or use distributors?
SN: Through appointed distributors and directly, Novomatic has a presence and serves the majority of the emerging markets including the Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Saipan, South Korea and others.