In 1885, when BASF sent a director to China for the first time, it was considered a distant and exotic country, said Martin Brudermüller, vice-chairman of the BASF Board of Executive Directors, at an FCC lunch on April 13. Yet how different were things? While China had become the worlds second-largest economy and was transforming from workbench to innovation powerhouse, it was instructive to examine the elements of doing in business in China that have remained consistent because these were also the least likely to change in the next century. Brudermüller traced how doing business in China had evolved over 130 years and what we could expect to change (and not to change) in the future.
His overview was drawn from a new history of BASF in China in the bookBreaking New Ground, which was recently compiled for BASFs 150th anniversary. It was based on two years of research, including interviews with current and former employees of BASF in Germany and in China as well as unprecedented access to the BASF corporate archive.
Brudermüller, who became vice-chairman in 2011, is also responsible for the Asia Pacific region, headquartered in Hong Kong, and for the Performance Materials division.