Xiao Caigen used to be a researcher at Jiangsu Hormone Research Institute. In 1990, when he decided to quit his job to start his own business, he could not predict the ups and downs that would be faced with. He could never imagine that his business would experience a bankruptcy; he could not imagine that 14 years later the novel product he developed in his last resort would win a Chinese Manufacture Champion. Today, Shandong Huimeng Bio-Tech, founded by Xiao Caigen, has accomplished a complete industrial chain layout in production of pesticides.
Recently, the Extraordinary Craftsman, a prime Chinese TV channel, conducted an interview with Xiao Caigen to tell about his pesticide story, beginning from technical research, experiencing three times of business startup, ending in his successful production of the pesticide intermediate DCTF[2,3-Dichloro-5-(Trifluoromethyl)pyridine], thereby having opened up the global market and acquisitions of other agrochemical companies to get through the whole upstream and downstream pesticide industry chain, covering 6 major industry sectors.
Chemical industry concerns the national economy and people’s livelihood. From people’s clothing, catering, housing and travelling, up to farming and various industries, chemicals are always indispensable.
Xiao Caigen: After graduation from college in 1983, I started my career in Jiangsu Hormone Research Institute, which is a major pesticide research and production organization in China, located in my hometown - Jintan, Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province.
In 1990, after 7 years of pesticide-oriented research work, Xiao Caigen resigned and started his own business within the industry, where he had practiced for a long time - chemical industry.
Xiao Caigen: I established my first factory in 1990, later I built my own factories respectively in Jiaozhou of Shandong Province, Tianjin and Danyang of Jiangsu Province. In late 1990s, due to the financial crisis, the export business tied up our working capital, which caused a capital chain rupture in my company. My enterprise could not sustain that, being eventually closed down.
In 2000, Xiao Caigen took over Jintan Civil Affairs Infusion Set Factory. Switching from chemical industry to medical apparatus, is not an easy business transition.
Xiao Caigen: The infusion set factory is an enterprise restructured based on the public welfare service, where our employees include veterans with disabilities, deaf and dumb youth, as well as indigenous workers and farmers. As the head of the factory, I did a lot of work in person, such as escort of transportation of each single infusion set we produced, starting off at night, delivered to customers the next morning, and then waited to collect payment to pay salary to employees, and then reinvest the money in reproduction.
I worked for production of infusion sets for two years. In fact, since I left chemical industry, I always have a feeling of loss. Until at one time a customer cheated on us, taking the delivery but not paying, which was the last straw breaking down our infusion set factory. After much though, in the spring of 2002, I decided to step back to chemical industry.
In 2003, just when Xiao Caigen decided to return to the chemical industry and start his third time venture, a chemical production safety accident abroad alerted him, with a market opportunity.
Xiao Caigen: Although I worked in medical apparatus production for two years, I always keep an eye to what is happening in the chemical industry. At one time, a major agrochemical company in the United States had an accident. I noted that the agrochemical company used to produce a product called DCTF (2,3-dichloro-5-(trifluoromethyl) pyridine), which is a brand-new pesticide intermediate. As the American company is the only manufacturer of DCTF in the world, I immediately realized that the market would soon be short of this product.
This factory covers 600 mu of land, which is the Shandong production base of Huimeng Bio-Tech, where a DCTF production workshop was built in 2013.
Xiao Caigen: Our DCTF production facility is equipped with a complete DCS control system and a complete emergency shutdown system. All these safety facilities were already established in 2003.
In 2003, when I discovered the global shortage of DCTF, there was not yet a single factory in China that were able to make this product, quite a common raw material, which is chlorinated and fluorinated, then resulted in DCTF. In 2007, we got the first purchase order from ISK, who made an advance payment of $3 million. Thereafter, DCTF has gradually become our blockbuster product.
The lower raw material cost and the advanced production process have enabled successful marketing of Huimeng’s DCTF to the international market, having reached 70% market share in the international market. In 2020, Huimeng’s DCTF won the Manufacture Champion, as awarded by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Out of the top 10 global agrochemical enterprises, 8 have been strategic partners of Huimeng Bio-Tech.
Xiao Caigen: We are ranked as the best supplier of Bayer CropScience and ISK. In the course of cooperation with these international industry leaders, we come to realize the importance of standardized business management. We spent RMB7.4 million on introduction of DuPont’s safety management for continuous improvement, RMB40 million on installation of the advanced SIS safety instrument system and the ESD emergency shutdown system as well as RMB90 million on waste water and waste gas treatment. All these measures ensure the compliance of business operation, as well as safer and more stable production run.
DCTF, the blockbuster product, has opened up the global market for Huimeng Bio-Tech. However, to obtain a stronger market position and to reserve for future development, Xiao Caigen made a plan for long-term development.
Xiao Caigen: We decided to make a complete industrial chain layout. Pesticide technical has two important components, one is our advantageous product which is the intermediate of fluoride represented by DCTF, whilst the other one is the chiral compound.
In 2018, Huimeng Bio-Tech acquired Jiamusi Heilong Pesticide Co., Ltd, thus having obtained the production qualification of pesticide technical, business certificate of 14 technical materials and 22 formulations; in 2020, Huimeng Bio-Tech acquired Anhui Anhe Biotechnology Co., Ltd to have obtained the company’s advanced biological fermentation technology, thus having realized the transformative upgrading from chemical synthesis to biological fermentation.
Xiao Caigen: Through such business acquisitions, we are in possession of Anhui Anhe’s chiral compound and Shandong Huimeng Bio-Tech’s intermediate of fluoride. On this basis, we could finally produce low-toxicity, low-residue and high-efficiency pesticide technical in Heilong Pesticide. To this end, we have made more than 10 years of hard try to get through the complete pesticide industry chain upstream and downstream.
With 40 years of unremitting effort, I have devoted myself to chemical industry, as I know pesticide promotes food production while food concerns national development. In this context, Huimeng Bio-Tech is going to usher in a time of new progress via its technical advancement and the compete industry chain layout.
Xiao Caigen: By 2023, it has been 10 years now since the inception of Huimeng Bio-Tech. Starting from nothing, to the winning of the Chinese Manufacture Champion, beginning from being a manufacturer, to an independent R&D-based high-tech enterprise, it is the people of Huimeng Bio-Tech that have made all achievements by the hard work and the craftsman spirit. I am myself a great advocate of craftsmanship. Fortunately, I am not alone, we all share the same spirit. Feelings of one person are pleasant, but the feelings of a group of people are a culture. It is just because of this culture, Huimeng Bio-Tech could today grow into a corporate group with 3 production bases and 1 operation center, across the whole country. In the meantime, we have become the first within the industry to have completed the strategic layout of in 6 complete industrial chains.
Huimeng sincerely looks forward to contact with raw material suppliers, or industry people who are interested in the company's products!
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