Diversification drives up 3M in China
Updated: 2009-06-08 15:41


Kenneth Yu has been working for 3M for 40 years and heading its China operations for more than 15 years. And 3M China has grown from a small office with several people in the 1980s into a big group now with more than 5,700 employees and 12 subsidiaries.

Yu attributed its rapid growth to putting consumers' needs first. "The unique quality about 3M is that we anticipate what the customers need before they realize," said Yu.

"In the 1990s, we knew one thing the country must do was to attract foreign investment or simply get business started. However, there was no telephone network because the cost to install one was 5,000 yuan, while the average income was 400 yuan per person. That was when we decided to start providing a telephone network," he recalled.

After the investment in 1994, 3M's China telephone network business quickly went into full scale production, he said, adding that was one of the moves he is most proud of in China.

Although no company is immune to the current global economic slowdown, Yu has no plan to change 3M's diversified route in China and he is quite optimistic about China's economic future.

"Although some of our business has been affected by the economy, being overly cautious is not a choice," Yu said, "You don't set a long term strategy based on short term ups and downs. 3M invested $400 million in its research center in Shanghai last year. China will need it in the long run, so investment should be made in the long run," He said.

 (Script by Ding Qi & Cai Muyuan, video by Xu Yang)

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