Date: January 17, 2012, 5-6 p.m. in SF1105
Title: In the Middle Kingdom
Abstract: This talk is about two businesses in China, from conception to completion and a start up of Joint Venture production facilities, as well as marketing, sales and distribution, finance and controlling functions.
First is a dyestuff business. Dyestuffs are primarily used in the colouring of all textile substrates. Since the mid 1980’s demand for colours for textiles in the entire spectrum exploded in China, and colourants became short, and profitable.
Second is potato starch, used in home cooking, restaurants, commercial foodstuff manufacturing, paper making, textile printing, pharmaceutical preparations, and much more. Good quality potato starch commands a profitable bottom line, and its specialized character attributed to a less hotly competed field. Both instances relate to the marrying of strengths of the Chinese and European industrialists. One in the chemical industry, the other in agriculture.
The talk recounts the actual processes of setting up and running of the businesses, and the happenings that shaped them. Some anecdotes and experiences are stimulating, at times funny, and enlightening.
Bio: Paul was born and educated in Hong Kong. In 1967 he commenced with his first job, selling optical & electronic instrumentations to the government of China. Later he transitioned into the chemical industry, still focusing on China.
For three decades Paul worked for Bayer AG in China, specializing in dyestuffs and pigments for all applications. He was given the mandate, and the accountability, to research, build and operate the businesses as if they were his own. In those days he was a pioneer of the time, breaking into uncharted waters which have today become bustling and rewarding markets for many players.
Paul also worked as China spokesperson and CEO China operation for the Dutch farmers co-op AVEBE, that specializes in potato starch and derivatives; and later in the same capacity for Corn Products International Inc of Illinois, a leader in corn starch and derivatives. During this time he worked together with the Chinese agricultural communities, appreciating the heritage and positive nature of farmers.
After working, travelling and living for more than 40 years in China, Paul retired in 2010, and returned to settle in Ontario in the same year. Paul lives with his wife Grace in Markham. Their son, Rudi, is a visual arts professional who operates his communication and media design business in Toronto.