Richard Latham founded Bluewave in 1995 when he designed a website and wrote at the end: ‘If you want a website like this, ring this number.’ The former civil engineer was surprised to get calls from several blue-chip companies. Clients of Bluewave, his web-design and e-commerce company, now include Citigroup, Exxon Mobil and Volkswagen. The London company’s sales have risen 130% a year from £294,000 in 1997 to £3.6m in 2000, when it employed 61 staff. Latham says Bluewave has built its sales by expanding into markets that others are fleeing. Its presence in a number of time zones enables it to give a better service to multinational clients. The company is moving into Japan and expects to open in Hong Kong shortly. ‘Asia Pacific is really growing,’ says Latham. ‘Many of our competitors have cut back in that area because of the slowdown at home. We see this as an opportunity.’ For example, Bluewave designed Volkswagen Asia Pacific’s website to attract visitors by allowing them to build the car of their choice, as well as finding information about the nearest dealership. The Danish shipping giant Maersk took a 51% stake in the company this year.
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