Mar. 26, 2008
This month's CAC Conference in Shanghai was, as expected, dominated by discussions of short supply, largely concerning glyphosate . However, several companies pointed to the opportunities presented by the shortfall of China's production and the massive restructuring of the Chinese industry.
Major investments are underway as companies transfer production to different areas of the country or retool their plants to come in line with the regulations imposed by the state. The short term, of course, is a time of shortage and price increase, and when all is said and done, it is unlikely that supply or prices will return to past levels.
But, for the companies currently investing in China, the sky is wide open. There were a few conversations that we had with companies at CAC which were doing just that: adapting to the new rules of the trade, and looking forward to a promising future.
One conversation that stuck out to us was with Kenso Corp. (Malaysia) in the lobby of the Shanghai Everbright hotel. Kenso's Director Soh Kinn Yeow had just described a new production facility being built in China, and I asked if the new environmental standards had made the project more difficult. It turns out, the opposite was true: the company had planned for the facility to be up to international standards, because it believes in the long-term sustainability of the industry, which includes investing in environmental and human safety. For him, the new standards came as a blessing, reinforcing his company's belief in responsible crop protection production.
We have known many companies that have taken this long view in the crop protection industry. Discussions with Chinese companies such as Tide and Qiaoji Group were highlighted by the same emphasis on quality over quantity. It should not come as a surprise, then, that these companies and their long-term vision are now in better positions to succeed than competitors that balanced their entire business models on price competition. In a lot of ways, it's nice to see some of the good guys poised to do well in the future.