Consumer trends in China change quickly. Solutions have to be developed to meet consumers ever-new expectations. Our BYK division has therefore steadily come closer to its Chinese customers in recent years. The next step: investments in new facilities and laboratories to further decrease delivery times and to intensify the development of products catering to the country’s specific needs. For Chinese Managing Director Dr. Dechun Fu, this goes without saying. After all, flexibility is a constant in the company’s service offer.
WE ARE NOT ONLY CLOSE TO OUR CUSTOMERS GEOGRAPHICALLY IN THE FUTURE, BYK PRODUCTS WILL BE TAILORED EVEN MORE CLOSELY TO THE CHINESE MARKET.
China is still one of the world’s fastestgrowing economies. Regional and many global players manufacture their products here, from the automotive and electronics industries, to the international paint and coating sector. So what is more appropriate for an additives manufacturer like BYK than to strengthen its presence in China?
Increasing Proximity to Customers
In China, the division is not starting from scratch. BYK has been manufacturing at its own site in Tongling for many years. In addition, it has various application-technology labs distributed throughout the country. And since 2014 BYK has had its own warehouses in the metropolises of Shanghai and Guangzhou. “That was the first step to move even closer to our Chinese customers,” explains Dr. Dechun Fu, the Managing Director of BYK in China. Another milestone was reached in 2014: BYK Additives Shanghai was founded as an operating company. Since then, Chinese customers have been able to purchase BYK products right in China. Previously, sales were made exclusively via BYK’s headquarters in Germany or distributors in China. Thanks to the expansion of production at the Tongling site, the share of products manufactured directly in China has been increased significantly. “We’re on the right track,” says Dr. Fu. “But we don’t want to come to a standstill. On the contrary: We are prepared to make considerable investments to continue to expand production and to intensify our development of products geared specifically to the country.”
Service for Regional and Multinational Companies
Today, BYK experts are already working on special product applications for Chinese customers at laboratory sites in Tongling, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, among others. BYK intends to significantly expand this service in the future. A number of new, state-of-the-art laboratories and an expanded team of development and application specialists will be available. “We will enlarge our sales force too, so that our customers always have a direct and personal contact partner,” says Dr. Fu.
The service offer is geared not only to multinational companies, but also important regional customers, for instance in the coatings and plastics industries. The managing director says that they manufacture not only for the Chinese market but, unlike the global players, do not always have their own formulational expertise.
Creating True Added Value Through Local Knowhow
“It is precisely here that we can create true added value with our local expertise, as regional manufacturers have different expectations of our additives than global producers,” he says. This is due on the one hand to the pronounced cost orientation, and on the other to the Chinese consumers’ constant demand for ever-new products that can only be met by innovation. Hence these markets are subject to extremely rapid change. “You cannot compare the end consumers in China to those in Europe and the U.S.,” asserts Dr. Fu.
This makes it all the more important to customize existing products to match our customers’ special applications. But BYK is also considering developing new additives expressly for the Chinese market, says Dr. Fu. An important prerequisite: “We have to develop these innovations quickly.” And he is confident that “we will be able to meet this challenge.”
Dr. Dechun Fu, who completed his doctorate in Materials Science, has in-depth knowledge of the different mentalities impacting the Chinese, European, and American markets because he has studied, done research, and worked on all three continents.
A willingness to change is a hallmark of his career, as his switch from a position of technical responsibility to management shows. “Now I see my task as pushing ahead change at BYK,” he says.