Company sates appetite for premium products
Founded in 1895 as a shipping and trading company, first in Hong Kong and later Shanghai, by seafaring men Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen, Jebsen & Co's historic ties to the Middle Kingdom have positioned its brand as the premium marketing, distribution and logistical service representing consumer goods, beverage, industry products and luxury items including motor vehicles.
'Last year, Jebsen went through an internal restructuring to position our businesses to represent themselves better,' says group managing director, Helmuth Hennig.
'Our consumer business has set up their own legal entity, as well as our beverage business. In 2012, we have plans for more infrastructure investment into people and structure, a step we are putting in place to further increase our competencies in the industries. As business expands, we are ensuring the future of our group.'
More than 10 years ago, Jebsen mostly worked within the mainland in providing industrial machinery. This changed with China entering the WTO. Jebsen leveraged its network to start bringing in consumer oriented products including camera brands, Porsche sports cars and beverages, such as the exclusive Bollinger Champagne, the choice drink of Ian Fleming's James Bond, 007.
'Jebsen has partnered with the luxury sports carmaker, Porsche, for more than 57 years,' says Hennig, who is proud to represent a brand where, in Hong Kong, it is said to have the highest number of Porsche vehicles per kilometre of road.
'In 2001, we started bringing the famous sports car to China and it took us some time to build up the brand. We understand what has been working well in the Hong Kong market and are doing much more of the same in China, like test drives and events for making Porsche a lifestyle brand.
'Branding has to do with timing. People in China are getting more affluent. They are looking out for choices beyond the conventional brands. They have been travelling quite a bit as well and have come to appreciate the brand culture and lifestyle. In 2001, we sold 40 vehicles in China, including Hong Kong and Macau. Last year, we sold over 6,000 vehicles throughout Greater China.'
As luxury booms in China, the taste of the good life is not complete without the Chinese fascination and obsession for the stately high-end wines and spirits.
'Jebsen entered the wine business relatively late when compared to our long history: 1991. Wine consumption in general was just starting and we were quite an early adopter. It was opportunistic at that time, and the shareholders understood the value to enter the business from a distribution market and a lifestyle perspective. In the subsequent years, we took up the distribution of a few brands. Now we represent 80 brands including Bollinger, an excellent high-end Champagne brand.'
As the demand for luxury high-end consumer products grows, Jebsen is ready and positioned to cater for the growing market with their local know-how.
'Hong Kong itself is an interesting market for us, but also serves as an incubator market for brands to come in to test the market. We bring our extensive experience of distributing foreign brands. Our decades of experience from Hong Kong, as well as our strength in the distribution network, provide us with the foundation for replicating our success in China today.'