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10 Apr

Proven principle at WTH:

Alone to Asia


(mud) – Walter Thieme is certainly not an entrepreneur who leaves something to chance in his decisions. Likewise, he does not shy away from any business challenge. He prefers to rely on his own experience when making decisions. All this and a good deal of specialist knowledge in 1992 provided him with a solid basis for starting his own business. In order to quickly open up new markets for his then-young company located in Stade/Germany, he packed his suitcase in 2002 and made his way to India and later to China - but always alone.

In principle, group travel did not come to his mind. He never traveled with business delegations from ministries, organizations or NGO's. The reason for his decided "solo efforts" is as simple as it is plausible: "When I travel in a group, I only appear as one of many. If I visit the partners alone, they tend to regard me as a decision-maker."

Thanks to this approach, which has become a principle for him, Walter Thieme has not only quickly established himself internationally as a dialogue partner. Over the past 25 years, he has also found business friends around the globe, with whom he still does some good business. From the beginning he has made all business contacts personally and directly. Initially by phone and by fax, because emails did not exist yet. Thieme not only completed personal visits on site, but also left his business cards there at trade fairs and exhibitions.

In China, he was never traveling with an interpreter. His English skills were enough to communicate. Thieme recalls with a smile: "If it's jammed, you make yourself understandable by using hands and feets" Incidentally, this was very often needed, especially in India: "Because most Indians do not speak 'Queens English', the flow of conversation is there occasionally, 'stocking'. "On his Asian travel, the "demands" soon became mandatory. - It serves as a kind of 'success control', whether there is an understanding of knowledge with the interlocutor.

WTH China

Walter Thieme was already field-tested even before his independence. He recalls, "As an employee, I also dealt with Asians - Taiwan and Japan. But I did not want to use these contacts for my self-employment. In addition, in the WTH early years, I focused more on manufacturers from Europe and North America. Because my customers had reservations, especially against Chinese additive manufacturers ".

Many decision-makers did not initially trust producers in China to be able to produce long-lasting, competitive and high-quality products. Also, few of them trusted that innovative power to realize appropriate new and further developments.

"What a fool!" Rejoices the Stader entrepreneur in retrospect: "Today a number of the highly demanded chemicals are no longer produced in Europe. These include chemical blowing agents, stabilizers, optical brighteners but also polymeric materials such as chlorinated polyethylene ".

It is also an open secret in the industry that just not a few well-known European chemical manufacturers have products manufactured by busines partners in Asia, to market same here to complete their product portfolio. The hope: The own, good image should establish the Far East import in this country in the market.

(Please read the interview "European Good Breeding" on this page)