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    Home >> Shanghai >> Article
    President of Henkel China: Developing and growing with China
    By:Wang Jiaye  |  From:www.atbmusic.com  |  2019-09-27 10:48

    He is a foreign senior executive in a renowned multinational company as well as a super fan of Manchester United Football Club. He leads employees to innovate as well as join in social welfare activities and promotes the integration of multiple cultures. He is Jeremy Hunter, President of Henkel Greater China, and a laureate of the Magnolia Silver Award 2019 conferred by the municipal government of Shanghai.

    This British gentleman moved to Shanghai to live three years ago. In his view, the city is an exciting, vibrant place to live for both local residents and international ones such as himself.

    Jeremy Hunter, President of Henkel Greater China

    “I have witnessed Shanghai’s rapid development of digitalization, innovation and the further opening up of the market”

    Mr. Hunter, who served as President of Henkel Australia and New Zealand, and then President of Henkel India, had been travelling regularly to Shanghai for business since 2008. He was invariably amazed at what a modern, vibrant city it was and how the skyline was constantly changing. “Every time I came, there were new buildings, roads and bridges – quite unbelievable!”

    In 2016, he took the position of President of Henkel Greater China and moved to Shanghai. “To me, Shanghai is a city that embraces change like nowhere else. Over the past three years, I have witnessed the rapid development of digitalization, innovation and the further opening up of the market.”

    “I’ve been particularly impressed by the rapidly developing online-to-offline service here”, he said, noting that “thanks to the digital revolution, online food delivery systems, shared-bikes and the mobile payment revolution all make Shanghai a very convenient city and showcase China’s energy and capacity for innovation”.

    Besides, Mr. Hunter thinks China, especially Shanghai, has a very international atmosphere, saying that, “It is a truly cosmopolitan city – a meeting place of many nationalities in a fusion of Chinese and Western culture.”

    As President of Henkel Greater China, one of the most important parts of his role is regular interaction with local government officials. “It is refreshing to see how focused they are on assisting foreign investment, and encouraging the growth and development of private enterprise in the city”, he said.

    Mr. Hunter believes that Shanghai is well positioned to drive continuous transformation and opening-up to build a good business environment for companies like Henkel.

    “This is why we accelerated our presence in Shanghai.” He noted that Henkel opened its largest adhesives factory, the Dragon Plant and the Henkel Adhesive Innovation Center (HAIC), in 2013, and its Asia-Pacific and Greater China Headquarters moved to the Henkel Management Center (HMC) in Yangpu District in 2017.

    Henkel Management Center (HMC)

    “Henkel has grown together with China and achieved numerous milestones”

    Established in 1876, Henkel operates globally with a well-balanced and diversified portfolio in Adhesive Technologies, Beauty Care and Laundry & Home Care businesses. Since entering the Chinese market in 1988, it has been operating a business of significant size with around 5,000 employees at 25 sites across the country.

    Looking back on more than 30 years in China, the president said Henkel has grown together with China and achieved numerous milestones across its many different sectors.

    For example, Henkel was mostly focused on producing adhesives for envelopes and other simple applications when it first arrived in the Chinese market. Today, with China’s rapid development, they produce adhesives for a wide range of high-end uses such as smartphone construction and lightweight vehicles – industries that didn’t even exist before.

    “China’s rise as a leading player in digitalization… is something which ties in with Henkel’s own digitalization strategy”, said Mr Hunter, detailing that in the past few years, they have been digitizing their interactions with customers, consumers, business partners and suppliers along the value chain and they have been integrating their local manufacturing sites with Industry 4.0 technologies and solutions. Today, Henkel has five smart factories in China, which integrate cutting-edge digital innovations such as big data, the Internet of Things, and automation.

    In the past three years, Mr. Hunter has led the Greater China team in making outstanding achievements.

    In terms of product and service development, Henkel is delivering advanced solutions to support industrial upgrade and innovating for the specific needs of the Chinese market. He gave some examples: “pursuing lightweight vehicles as a means of lower fuel consumption, making food packaging safer for consumers and supporting emerging strategic industries like electronics and 3D printing.”

    Henkel’s “Dragon” Plant

    In terms of sustainable development, the president said that, “we are leading in sustainability along with our goal to triple the value we create for the footprint made by our operations, products and services by 2030. This includes infrastructure investment such as our highly sustainable Dragon Plant in Shanghai, as well as empowering our employees to act as sustainability ambassadors in social programs across China such as plastic waste collection and Sustainability Classes for children.”

    Mr. Hunter shares sustainability knowledge with children in a Henkel Sustainability Class.

    “Top Employers China”: How does a foreign executive get along with Chinese colleagues?

    Mr. Hunter is extremely proud that Henkel has received the ‘Top Employers China’ award for four consecutive years. “We are creating a great place to work, helping to foster the talent that makes our business such a success.”

    “I have lived and worked in eight different counties so far, and am always struck by the fact that people in every culture want the same things: At the very basic level, decent accommodation and three meals a day for themselves and their family; to provide a good education and a bright future for their children; and to do meaningful work and make a positive contribution to society. That is certainly something my Chinese colleagues and I have in common”, he said.

    Mr. Jeremy Hunter

    Hence, at Henkel, Mr. Hunter and his team share the same philosophy. “We value and reward all our people. I think we have a great team united by a strong set of values: my colleagues and I treat each other with respect, develop our capabilities and promote diversity. I believe that every employee can make a difference to our work here, so we really try to establish a platform that’s as open and inclusive as possible so that they can achieve their highest potential.”

    In his daily work, Mr. Hunter likes to share feedback, provide guidance and advice to his colleagues, while at the same time “learning much from them about Chinese culture, customs and other useful information. This form of mutual learning is one of the reasons I enjoy my work so much.”

    He is also a fan of Manchester United.“I am happy to see the strong interest here in the English Premier League: I enjoy the friendly banter with my Chinese colleagues after the weekend’s football results”, he said.

    Joining in social welfare activities and promoting multicultural exchange

    Since 1998, the Henkel Group has run its Make an Impact on Tomorrow (MIT) project worldwide to encourage every working and retired employee to engage in public welfare activities such as charitable donations and volunteering projects. Today, Henkel has 19 MIT volunteer projects in Greater China, 5 of which focus on vulnerable groups in Shanghai.

    As the Chairman of the Committee of the China MIT project, Mr Hunter said he is honored to hold the post to drive social engagement, adding that,“I participated in several volunteering projects myself in the past three years, such as the Hope School project in Yantai and Flying Hope, a bird protection project which also won the More than a Market award from the German Chamber of Commerce in China this year.”

    Mr. Hunter presents schoolbags to pupils at Henkel’s Hope School in Yantai, Shandong Province.

    Multicultural integration is one of the key elements at Henkel. The group has invited talented professionals from all over the world to work in China, and received young people from various countries to exchange knowledge and visit the Henkel Asia-Pacific and China Headquarters in Shanghai.

    For example, students from the Cologne School of Journalism come here for exchanges every May or June. 2019 was the ninth year of collaboration between the two sides.

    Mr. Hunter also participated in the international exchange platform activities of the China Europe Business School (CEIBS) and the Manchester University Alumni Association. He said that, “I have the opportunity to share my learnings from my international background with the graduates and also introduce the dynamics of Shanghai and China to western people.”

    Mr. Hunter delivers a speech at the graduation ceremony of the China Europe Business School (CEIBS).

    “We are full of confidence in China's future development”

    In 2018, Henkel attended the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) with seven consumer brands for body care, oral care, and hair care. “With our three exhibition areas, we showcased our world-class innovations and products to Chinese consumers as well as digital experiences such as a purchase-by-scanning system”, the president said.

    In his view, CIIE was a resounding success, bringing together companies from all over the world to deepen international collaboration and communication. Shanghai also demonstrated its position as a truly international city that is pioneering globalization.

    He noted that China is one of Henkel’s top three global markets and will continue to be the priority, saying that, “we will be increasing investment by around 300 million euros per year across the globe in products, technologies, innovation and digitalization. China will be one of the focus markets and we are full of confidence in China's future development.”

    “In the future, Henkel will actively support the further development of Shanghai and China as a whole through our innovation-driven offerings. We would also like to convey the concept of sustainable development and help promote multicultural exchange for the country”, he added.

    By Wang Jiaye

    Photos by Henkel