Stockholm, Sweden, 01 January 2011 -- For the past five years, SCA Timber has had a representative in Hong Kong, focusing on sales and contract manufacturing. SCA is now about to take the next step and open a sales company in Hong Kong – SCA Timber China; S.E. Asia Ltd – as the solid wood products market in China is becoming more and more interesting.
“In all the years I’ve worked in China, we’ve noticed that when we place more focus on sales, we also make better deals,” said Mathias Fridholm, managing director, SCA Timber China and Southeast Asia, who has been the SCA presence in China for several years.
Until recently, Fridholm and the staff in the Hong Kong office have largely acted as coordinators for the SCA sawmills that sell timber directly to customers in southern China. Now that the scope of timber deals with Chinese customers is increasing, it is important to review the composition of the marketing organization. For example, all elements of administrative procedures, business transactions and payment procedures must be correct.
“To solve this problem, we’ve set up a completely new sales company,” Fridholm said. “We will buy timber from SCA’s sawmills in Sweden and sell it on to customers in China.” All administration and service for SCA’s customers will now go through the company in Hong Kong. The result of all this is expected to be better, more efficient procedures and a better information flow to customers, given by staff who know Chinese regulations, speak Chinese, and work the same hours as customers.
“We hope that this will provide our customers with a better service and simplify communication,” said Fridholm, who will be CEO of newly formed SCA Timber China and S.E. Asia Ltd. In the long run, it is hoped that the company will have shareholders and suppliers beyond SCA. With an organization on site in China that is able to understand and discuss customers’ requirements and sawmill capabilities in a professional way, he also expects to be able to negotiate deals that are uniquely attractive to both parties.
The aim next year is to sell at least 40,000 cubic meters of timber, a doubling of the volume currently sold. “Put simply, our ambition is to grow the Chinese market,” said Fridholm. “Now that environmental considerations and quality have taken on an increasingly important significance, the requirements imposed on raw materials are becoming more stringent. In addition, Chinese customers will be placing heavier demands on their suppliers in terms of expertise and service. We’re now setting up an organization that should be able to satisfy these requirements.”