Doing business with the Asian process industry

The European process industry has in recent years steadily lost market position to Asia. This is partly due to that fact that since the end of the 20th century rapid industrialisation has been taking place in this continent. In Asian particular the “Asian Tigers”, like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong have in the past 30 years made great industrial progress. But also for example Thailand, Malaysia, India and above all China are working hard to industrialise their economy. Van Beek has already been working successfully for 15 years with its Chinese agent, Compass Bulk Handling System Pte Ltd, for deliveries to the Asian process industry. We visited Mr. George Lee, managing director of Compass Bulk Handling System Pte Ltd, in Beijing and asked him a number of questions. You will probably also be interested in his answers and we would like to share them with you.

Mr. George Lee tells us enthusiastically and openly about his company and the Asian market: “We deliver components for bulk handling, transport installations and system integration, mainly to companies in China, but also in other Asian countries. Our turnover is around 20 million euro per year. We find Dutch and European companies to be reliable and so are pleased to do business with them. We have already been working with Van Beek for over 15 years. I can therefore say that our relationship has been very stable and reliable over all these years. It is based on mutual respect and trust. We understand one another! I am pleased to answer all your questions.”

Interview with our agent: Mr. George Lee from Beijing:

– What are the market expectations in China and Asia?

Bigger investments will be postponed for the next 1 to 2 years, smaller investments in products with a higher added value will continue as usual.

– What in your opinion will change for you and us in the short and medium term?

The competition with local producers is becoming tougher because their quality is improving and they are charging a competitive price. On the other hand local producers who cannot supply quality will gradually disappear from the market.

– Are there changes underway for the Chinese/Asian end user?

Greater knowledge about system integration, stronger service teams in the local market and more top end European and American highly qualified suppliers and partners.

– What are the “dos and don’ts” in business relationships for us as Europeans in Asia?

Asian business partners like 100% open and honest communication, although Asians do not always understand the Dutch directness. Asian people do not like arrogance, but strictness, sincerity and politeness are the most acknowledged and valued Western conventions.

– What in your view do Dutch/European companies do well and what can they do better or differently?

Dutch/European companies deliver quality and have a good reputation. But disadvantages are the high price level that they charge and the slow speed of response to the constantly changing market demand in Asia.

– What do you advise Dutch/European companies to undertake to be more effective and efficient in China?

The key to success is cooperation with a professional, reputable, reliable local partner. For small scale production a joint venture has a better chance than making your own investment. But here too a reliable local partner is the key to success.

We thank Mr. George Lee warmly for his cooperation!

About Compass Bulk Handling System

Compass Bulk Handling System Pte Ltd has been designing and delivering installations and engineering services for the bulk processing industry in Asia for some 35 years. The head office is located in Singapore and it also has four offices in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou).

Because of its sound knowledge of process technology, years of experience and close cooperation with established suppliers all over the world Compass Bulk Handling System can respond innovatively and successfully to the specific requirements of its customers.

In Beijing Compass has a state-of-the-art R&D centre, an engineering centre with exhibition hall, a testing laboratory and an assembly workshop.

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