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China (Mainland)

1996 - 1997

The more the giant investment project required the experts to venture into Chinese bureaucratic territory, the greater the obstacles became.

The reasons for this could be seen as early as in the first round of negotiations concerning the Verbund site in Nanjing. The Chinese discussion partners presented a nearly complete and very complex agreement draft that covered substantial parts of the joint venture – but this draft also essentially benefited the Chinese partners, as a detailed study of the contract showed.

The negotiations about the land on which the plants were to be built were also tough and prolonged.

In the end, disconcerting news came from Asia in the summer of 1997. Since worried international investors were increasingly withdrawing their capital from the overheated Thai market, Thailand decontrolled the exchange rate of the baht, the national currency. Its exchange rate plunged into freefall – with horrendous consequences for the Thai economy. The crisis expanded to the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia.

But BASF stayed on track and adhered to its ambitious plans for China, since the country already proved to be relatively resilient in contrast to the critical development in the “tiger economies.”

 

"Our strategy in Asia is planned for the long term. The development of our activities in Asia is an example of how we at BASF find opportunities in changes and crises and utilize them decisively."

Jürgen Strube
Spring 1999