As it became more involved on the Asian market, BASF became interested in the strategy and business models of more than just the large competitors and previous partners.
A study concluded that these emerging competitors also had to be taken very seriously because they were characterized by a high level of customer orientation and flexibility.
Andreas Kreimeyer played an important role in preparing this new Asia strategy. The new member of the BASF Board of Executive Directors responsible for Asia had a demanding goal that was expected to be achieved by 2015: doubling the sales in the entire region.
In June 2001, BASF was one of the first companies worldwide to found a Sustainability Council in order to anchor ideas and activities along these lines more deeply within its global goals and strategies. To emphasize its commitment to sustainable development, BASF co-founded the China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) in January 2004.
The ambitious goals for China were also an integral part of BASF’s overall strategy, the revision of which Jürgen Hambrecht, the new chairman of the BASF Board of Executive Directors, had emphatically pursued. Hambrecht pointed out that the chemical industry was facing a paradigm shift not only in terms of growth rates, but also in the geographical location of its markets. While 90 percent of the 1.1 billion chemical consumers were living in the developed economies of Europe, Japan and North America in 2001, a completely different picture would evolve by 2015: At that time, the number of potential consumers would nearly double to more than 2 billion and the bulk of this new constellation would clearly be in the emerging countries, especially China. It was therefore the right move to invest in China early and keep the strategic focus on Asia.
The visit from Wen Jiabao in early May 2004 also showed the high significance that the Chinese government attributed to its largest foreign chemical investor in the modernization of the country’s chemical industry. Numerous topics were on the agenda of the Chinese Prime Minister, who came to Germany at the invitation of Chancellor Schröder.