emphasises C. K. Chiang, in dialogue with POLYMERS Communiqué.
Q. Chen Hsong (CH) seems to have embarked on a project, ‘The Next 60’; tell us something more about this project.
The year 2018 is the 60th Anniversary of the Chen Hsong Group. As Chen Hsong looks back to the past 60 years, we did a lot of deep reflections on what will be needed for Chen Hsong to succeed in the ‘next’ 60 years. Our conclusion is that two things are strategically important. Firstly, to build on our core strengths of a long history and decades of technical and applications experience, and secondly recognise that the world is ever-changing and that the next 60 years will be quite different from the past 60 years. So, some old ways must be changed to make way for a ‘New Chen Hsong’ that sheds old baggage of outdated practices and embraces new best practices in an ever-connected, ever info-focused world.
Q. From a mechanical repair shop in 1958, to a dominant global payer in injection moulding machines, share with us your ups and downs in this journey.
For 60 years, Chen Hsong has seen it all. On an average, we managed to witness one major global financial crisis ever decade, and one minor crisis in between each. They include the oil crisis in 1970s, the recessions in 1980s, the Asian Financial Crisis in the 1990s, the tech bubble in the 2000s and, of course, the near global meltdown in 2008. After 60 years, we are still here. This is an indication of the resiliency of Chen Hsong and our solid and reliable management that allowed us to weather through storm after storm, while many other competitors who propped up during the years folded.
Q. Where is CH as regards Industry 4.0 is concerned? Are the demands of the Asian countries different from the West?
We are finding that, to a certain extent, the requirements in Asian countries are quite different from those of the West. In Asia, when talked about Industry 4.0, one eventually meant a high degree of automation and information management – all issues that the West has solved decades ago. So, in the sense of Industry ‘4.0’, it is more like ‘3.0+’ in Asia, and one must bear this in mind when discussing the same with an Asian user.
For Western users, however, they do attempt to move towards the holy grail of Industry 4.0 – i.e. ‘intelligent’ manufacturing, with data collection, automation and information being only the foundation infrastructure upon which true intelligent manufacturing will be based. For these users, Chen Hsong is glad to be working with a number of global companies on research projects to further this aim.
Q. What is your take on Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
AI is core to Industry 4.0. In fact, in Chen Hsong’s understanding, the entire Industry 4.0 movement can be summarised into three layers:
- Big Data (roots)
- AI (trunk)
- Communications (branches)
Q. You have a strategic co-operation with Ube-Mitsubishi for the last 7 years now. What does this relationship mean to your business?
Mitsubishi (and later Ube-Mitsubishi) has been working with us for almost a decade and we can say that the cooperation is a resounding success – to the point that the President of Ube-Mitsubishi recently announced (during Chen Hsong’s 60th Year Anniversary celebrations) that “Chen Hsong is our (Ube-Mitsubishi’s) best and most reliable partner, and we are working together closely to develop the global market.” He said it all.
Q. You consider your MK6 – Servo Driven injection moulding machines as a global model. Tell us more about this product.
The machine is a 3-year effort internally at Chen Hsong, led by senior Japanese engineers with decades of experience, in an attempt to build a machine that comes close to Japanese-level hydraulic machine performance, while staying true to being a super affordable, mass-produced Chinese product. We believe we have succeeded, and the MK6 product line is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. There really is no comparison, and we see that the product line will satisfy over 90% of global demands, regardless of the application.
Q. At the recently concluded NPE, Chen Hsong had a lot to showcase; how did the event work for you?
NPE was a huge success. CH-America, the Chen Hsong team in the USA, did a great job in hosting our booth. We attracted a huge number of visitors and generated a large number of active leads – much more than our typical NPE showings in the past. It was also the venue where we officially launched CH-America as Chen Hsong’s official foray into the USA market.
Q. This year saw the formation of CH-America. Share with the readers of POLYMERS Communiqué, the thought process behind this and vision of CH-America.
The USA is a large market (in fact one of the largest in the world) for injection moulding machines. It is also one of the most demanding. To succeed there will have significant implications for Chen Hsong’s image, globally.
Our vision of CH-America is to have an all-American team servicing the market and users. We totally believe in localisation; we believe that users want to talk to technicians in their own language, who understand their unique requirements. This is a model that Chen Hsong started in a number of countries already (such as Chen Hsong South America in Brazil, Chen Hsong Europe, and Chen Hsong India) and will continue in other regions of the world that make sense.
Q. Charity means a lot to CH; what activities do you typically undertake?
Chen Hsong is majority owned by a charity foundation – and we take great pride in this. For every Dollar earned by Chen Hsong, almost 65 cents go towards charity. The Chiang Chen Charity Foundation’s mission can be seen clearly on this link: chenhsong.com/charity and their website: www.ccicf.org.hk
Q. Any specific buying trends across different geographies such as North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East and Africa?
The only thing we can say is every region has a different buying trend. It is Chen Hsong’s direction to cater to individual localised needs and requirements, so as to provide our customers in diverse geographical areas with the products and services that can bring value to them.
Q. The growth targets that you have set for the company over the next 3 – 5 years…
Chen Hsong’s goal is to provide the best value to our global customers. We set targets for different regions of the world in sync with our main goal.
Q. The biggest business challenge that you have successfully overcome is…
As mentioned above, the once-in-every-decade financial crises.
Q. According to you, what is the future of family-run businesses?
We will be a poorly equipped to answer this question, as Chen Hsong is not a family-run business. Chen Hsong is a publicly listed company run by a
board of directors with well-known independent directors’ oversight. It is also owned majorly by a charity foundation, not any family.
Q. How has the Indian market been for you this far?
The Indian market has been great for Chen Hsong’s Taiwanese subsidiary, Asian Plastic (AP), which sells machines made in Taiwan. This year, Chen
Hsong set up a wholly-owned subsidiary company, Chen Hsong India, and runs its own team in India covering marketing, sales and service. AP has been growing fast in India and Chen Hsong is investing heavily for future growth.
Q. What kind of investments / acquisitions are planned for the growth of your Indian operation?
AP is currently running a number of sales and support offices in India, namely Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. We plan to add more locations to service our customers in the near future.