Who we are

1886 - 1924

Business Pioneers in China

Fritz Müller, who joined BASF on July 14, 1904, writes about the experiences of a German chemist in China in the early 20th century.

BASF’s indigo laboratory in Ludwigshafen: This was where the race for the synthetic  production of the “king of dyes” was won in 1897. Synthetic indigo from Ludwigshafen proved to be one of the bestsellers in China. (Photo: BASF-Archive)

Müller was assigned to an enormous region for the sale of synthetic indigo. In addition to China, his territory also covered the current countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Business soon flourished in the metropolitan area of Shanghai. Müller wrote: “There were times during which our local representatives could transfer more than a million marks to Mannheim by telegraph on the frst of each month.”

The memoirs of another chemist who worked for BASF in China in the years before the First World War have also been preserved. On October 9, 1911, the 26-year-old Boleslaw Adamczewski joined the coloring department of BASF.



The primary task of the Ludwigshafen dyeing technicians in China was to “process complaints and introduce any new products.”

In addition to synthetic indigo, BASF also introduced the new light-resistant and color-fast indanthrene® dyes in China, which were becoming increasingly popular in the west.

Adamczewski pointed out with pride: “The technicians at BASF were the first to bring indanthrene dyes to China. We were ahead of all German factories and later even had to provide our Chinese translations to Bayer and Hoechst.”

Last Update November 8, 2018