SASOL Chemicals is the largest company in South Africa with 27,000 employees, a turnover of US$2.5 billion, and an annual profit of about $400 million. The firm Sasol Chemicals Pacific has only been operating in Hongkong since January last year, yet its staff of eight has already made a financial impact, with a monthly turnover of $2 million. It has another overseas office in Britain for the European market. ''The Asian market stretches from India to Japan, and south as far as Australia,'' said Mr Michael Tisdall, managing director of the Hongkong company. ''This is a large area to cover from here, and we are planning to set up a branch office in Singapore, and a representative office in Shanghai within the next two years.'' The office in Shanghai is part of the company's plan to increase the China part of the business. ''Although our parent company has been exporting to China since 1955, its present trade with China only accounts for about 10 per cent of the value of our business,'' said Mr Tisdall. ''We want our trade with China to grow, and we think there is a market for our specialty waxes. ''They are used in high quality products, which are more in demand now in China.'' He said that, as China exported more products, it had to meet world quality requirements and that the taxes met ISO 9000 standards. When Mr Tisdall first arrived in Hongkong, he found the main difficulty was trying to match the Western style of business with the Asian style. He solved this problem by operating the company entirely with Hongkong staff, with only one expatriate - himself. Sasol Chemicals Pacific specialises in chemicals with a difference. In most countries, the chemical industries are a by-product of an oil refining industry. South Africa has no known crude oil reserves, and Sasol Chemicals, the parent company, was set up in the early 1950s to produce liquid fuels, such as diesel and petrol, from the nation's plentiful coal supplies. It was expanded in the 1970s principally to make more chemicals. Its main products are solvents for the paint industry, phenolics, which are used in glue, laminate and printed circuit boards, and polypropylene. It also makes certain specialty products, such as waxes, which are used in printing ink, adhesives, textiles and high quality PVC extrusion products; explosives; mining chemicals and fertilisers. ''On the plus side, it is a very competitive, very exciting growth market,'' he said.