Operating since 1914, Wacker Chemie AG is a global chemicals business with headquarters in Munich, Germany. It has more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia and America, selling products in more than 100 countries. With its product range including silicone rubbers, polymer products, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers, WACKER works with the construction, automobile and textiles industries, amongst others.
Whilst WACKER already has extensive reach across the globe, its current target growth areas are developing countries such as South America, Eastern Europe (including Russia) and China. However, WACKER was experiencing severe problems when it came to delivering its online content, in the form of its global website, to its target audience in these regions.
With WACKER’s main IT infrastructure, which hosts the company’s main website, centralised in Munich, the website was experiencing severe performance problems in countries such as China. Responsible for the technical element of the company’s business communications, Scott McClure, Business Communications Manager for Wacker Chemie AG, explained: “Our website pages were taking 2-3 minutes to load in China due to the distance the data had to travel from Germany. With our website being the window into our company and a crucial marketing tool to reach customers as well as prospects, this lag was just unacceptable. We were losing leads with customers opting to purchase from our main competitors as they lost patience waiting for our website to load.”
Initially McClure’s team tried to resolve the issue by placing cache servers in Hong Kong and implementing changes to the delivery of the website, successfully reducing load times to 30 seconds per page. However, it was felt that this was still too slow and given that WACKER was reluctant to manage a separate infrastructure abroad due to its complexity, McClure realised he needed to find an alternative solution.
“In order to decrease the website loading times even further for delivering static content, we would have needed to roll out additional infrastructure in China,” explained McClure. “This was not a step we wanted to take as it would prove complex with licensing issues, costly to purchase the hardware and software, as well as labour-intensive with the man power needed for maintenance. In addition, the team needed expert knowledge in order to overcome the technical barriers posed, such as the ‘Great Firewall’, in order to reach all of China, including the remote locations where WACKER’s customers are typically based. We decided our best option would be to opt for a content delivery network provider.”
After carrying out extensive research and testing of all the major providers, WACKER selected CDNetworks’ China Acceleration and Dynamic Web Acceleration service to deliver the main website in developing countries. “I was impressed with the results demonstrated by the ‘performance proof of concept’ and the team’s expertise and local knowledge of China was equally commendable,” said McClure.
In fact, McClure has calculated that implementing CDNetworks has been almost cost neutral, compared to the expensive alternative of implementing WACKER’s own cache infrastructure in mainland China, South America and Russia. By tapping into CDNetworks’ state-of-the-art content distribution infrastructure across 25 points of presence (PoPs) in mainland China, designed for the country’s specific network requirements, WACKER achieves optimal delivery with minimal latency across the public internet.
In addition, the proven web performance technology reduces the number of data round-trips necessary to complete a web request, dramatically improving the end-user experience.
As a result, the most significant benefit of implementing CDNetworks is the dramatic reduction in website download times to under 2 seconds per page, including the homepage, which equates to a 90% decrease in waiting times for existing and prospective customers. In the near future, WACKER is looking to use the service to accelerate other aspects of its online presence, including the customer portal and ecommerce elements.