Shanghai — German materials distributor K.D. Feddersen Holding GmbH is expanding its business throughout Asia, the company said at the recent Chinaplas trade show.
Wilfried Jobst, managing director of K.D.F. Distribution (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., said Asia already represents a quarter of the company's global business and is the fastest growing region, while Europe remains its largest market.
“China is very important for us, but we see that increasingly Southeast Asia is picking up. We find [that for] many of our partners, the coastal area in China is getting expensive, so many companies are deciding to move to Central China or even go to Southeast Asia with their new investments,” he said.
“We decided recently that we'd build the first pan-Southeast-Asia engineering thermoplastics distributor,” he added. The company has opened offices in Southeast Asia in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam and will open one in Thailand late this year or early 2017.
“Southeast Asia is in an early stage but this could be the next China story for us,” he said.
The company is looking for long-term growth with this strategic decision. “We are not naive. We don't believe that Southeast Asia will be very big in two years but we want to be there when it happens. We want to be early and then grow with the market. And we feel like right now is exactly right time to go to Southeast Asia when the market is starting, and be there when the market is big in a few years.”
He added that Southeast Asia feels to him like China did 15 years ago.
He noted that the trends of lightweighting and customers moving to inland China and Southeast Asia are impacting the company. “We follow our customers,” he said, mentioning that automotive, miniaturization and new materials seem to be driving the trends.
While KDF is expanding throughout Asia, China remains an important base in the region. “We find the market still solid. We've been growing in the first quarter of this year and we also had a lot of growth last year so we find the business solid for us.”
2016 looks to be another record year, he said. “We had a record year last year and we hope that this year we can grow another 10 percent,” he said. “With various new projects we're working on, we hope we can continue grow.”