2016 marks 150 years of presence in Asia / China.
FARSIGHTED FOR OVER 215 YEARS
Since its foundation in Bremen in 1806, Melchers has been active in international markets. Until the middle of the 19th century, the focus was more on the Pacific economic area, and after the establishment of a branch in Hong Kong in 1866, Melchers was also active in Asia.
Focke & Melchers, a shipping and trading company, is founded in Bremen by Carl Melchers (1781-1854) and Carl Focke. Its business is centred on emigration to the US and the transportation of goods from Cuba, Mexico and the US.
The three Melchers brothers, Heinrich (1822-93), Georg (1827-1907) and Gustav (1830-1902), establish a branch in Mazatlàn, Mexico, followed seven years later by a further branch in Honolulu, Hawaii.
After the death of the company's founder Carl Melchers, his eldest son Laurenz Heinrich Melchers takes over management of C. Melchers & Co. Start of expansion into the Asian market.
In the 1860s, C. Melchers & Co. becomes established in Asia and engages in trade with China with great success. Thus, in 1866, the first Asian branch is opened in Hong Kong. Trading is now concentrated on China and the company abandons its shipping business.
Having a holding in North German Lloyd since its founding in 1887, Melchers becomes the shipping company's representative in China and Hong Kong.
Business collapses. All of Melchers' possessions in China and Hong Kong are seized.
The family's management of the company ends with the death of Hermann Melchers in 1918. Up until the Second World War, Melchers is again actively engaged in trade with China and in the production of goods and beverages. Exports to China include lanterns, clocks, cameras, tools and hardware, while the main imports from China to Europe are egg-based products, skins, furs, seeds, animal hair and wood oil. Melchers also operates port installations and maintains shipping agencies.
The Second World War brings business to almost a complete standstill. In China, this is followed by expropriations by the Kuomintang and subsequently by the Communists.
Melchers succeeds in reopening its branches in Hong Kong and, shortly afterwards, in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The network of branches is gradually expanded to cover the whole of Asia.
Melchers is appointed sole importer of Sony consumer electronics and subsequently becomes the representative of other companies (Pioneer, Citizen).
A joint subsidiary with Ferrostaal AG in Essen is set up for Asia's Communist countries, in particular China. This unites Ferrostaal AG's knowledge of investment business with Melchers' know-how and experience in complex business dealings with China.
From the 1970s onwards, sales & marketing offices are established in many Asian countries, including Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. With China opening up for trade again in the late 1970s, branches are set up in that country once more, underscoring the immense importance of Chinese business for Melchers. With the establishment of a branch in San Francisco, business activities are expanded to include trading between the United States and Asia in order to take advantage of the rapidly developing trade relationships between Asia and America.
Melchers is one of the first German companies to open a branch in Hanoi and then also in Saigon.
Melchers opens a branch in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar.
Melchers evolves from a trading house to an international service provider specialising in market expansion and trading – based on a holding concept. Further expansion ensues with the acquisition of brands, know-how and market presence in both Europe and Asia. Increased M&A activities lead to steady growth. Melchers establishes a joint company with Stucken & Co. in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Expansion is centred on second-tier cities:
- Dalian, Urumqi, Changchun, Chongqing, Harbin (China)
- Bogor (Indonesia)
- Penang, Johor Bahru (Malaysia)
- Taichung (Taiwan)
- Surabaya (Indonesia)
P.T. Rubber Foam Indonesia goes into operation, producing natural latex pillows and mattresses.
Melchers opens an agency in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The agencies in China are converted to public limited companies in order to expand market development services in China.
Open Office in Karachi, Pakistan.
Massive restrictions on business operations in Europe and Asia due to the Corona pandemic.