While China’s economy continues to grow so rapidly its steel producers cannot meet local demand, foreign steel manufacturers and related companies have had to accelerate production and drastically reduce delivery time to succeed in the massive and valuable market.
“Time to market is our No 1 value proposition,” said Nicholas H Jensen, vice-president of marketing at ASSAB, a Singapore producer of tool steel, related machinery, state-of-the-art vacuum heat and other surface treatment services, a market it leads in China.
“We deal with electronic manufacturing giants like Foxconn, Flextronics, OMNI, Solectron and others, all of whom require quality mold steel to satisfy their clients’ demands for superior service.
“We import our high-end steel from our group mills in Europe, primarily in Sweden. We have 22 service centers and sales offices throughout China. Seventy percent of our business comes from multinational companies, while the other 30 percent is from local Chinese companies,” Jensen added.
To date, China accounts directly for around 50 percent of ASSAB’s total sales in Asia, where the company employs more than 500 people and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our vision is to grow with the market. In China, that means being omnipresent – never a day off, not even a minute. China has had a phenomenal development over the last 10 to 12 years. In 1990, Southeast Asia represented 70 percent of our business and Northern Asia only 30 percent. Now, it’s the opposite,” said Jensen.
With 41,000 employees globally, ASSAB, which belongs to Austrian-based voestalpine Group, has retained its leading position by keeping up with technological advances in the industry, especially in the field of environmental protection, and invests a great deal of time and effort in the training and education of its staff.
“As a European-based company, we already abide by rigorous regulatory standards. But, we are doing even more. Our clients such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Foxconn, Flextronics and all major automotive plants in China want to be able to state that their products are 100 percent environmentally friendly and that we follow labor regulations,” Jensen said.
“As well, keeping up with the demands of timely service is always a unique selling point we embrace with open arms,” Jensen added.