Interview 2: Fertilizer Business

Interview 2: Fertilizer Business

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It is hard to summarize the work of comprehensive trading companies. It is not only because of its wide range of industries but also its worldwide career variety. It is involved in a variety of work from worldwide business such as international trade of natural resources to the supply of daily necessities. However, being different from the retail and service industry, generally speaking, the name of the comprehensive trading company is rarely known by the ordinary consumers. The comprehensive trading company is the driving force to smooth the world economy, and it makes our lives more prosperous. Therefore, it is the comprehensive trading company that is closely related to a variety of "value chain".

Let's take the food business of Sumitomo for an example and have a look at it. The major commodities in the world market are "Philippine bananas", "U.S. pork" and "Australian grain", etc. And a lot of bananas has been imported to China. Moreover, it combines and expands the business of producer and consumer at home. It is the work of integrated trading company to make the commodities smoothly flow from the producer (upstream) to retail and dining table (downstream) as well as stably providing quality goods at the right price.

In order to deepen our understanding, we'd like to trace from the fertilizer business from Sumitomo Qingdao Co., Ltd. (later referred to as Sumitomo Qingdao) to the "upstream".

1.A new job in a Japanese company

viewsLi Hui, the deputy general manager in Sumitomo fertilizer (Qingdao) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Sumitomo fertilizer) has been in this company for 13 years, and was transferred to Sumitomo Fertilizer in Pingdu city in 2007. It is about two-hour highway from the factory and office of Sumitomo Fertilizer to the office of Sumitomo Qingdao. At that time, his family was worried of him as he went by himself. Now he works in the office of Sumitomo Qingdao on Fridays and spends his weekends with his family. Mr. Banjong, the general manager of Sumitomo Fertilizer is a fertilizer expert with abundant working experience in Japan, New Zealand and Thailand. And they are jointly in charge of Sumitomo Fertilizer, a joint venture between Sumitomo Corporation and a large state-owned enterprise.

Li Hui, the deputy general manager in Sumitomo Fertilizer, also works as chief of fertilizer department. He is good at English, but his Japanese is only to the level of greetings. Thus, he uses English and Chinese while working. Moreover, used to be an engineer in the original marine power, it is an unexpected chance to work in this company.

"I was previously working in a U.S. company, knowing little about Japanese companies. The only thing I knew was that it is a "foreign-funded enterprise". When I was about to change job for some reason, Sumitomo Qingdao was recruiting staff. So I applied for it, and was hired into the company."

Many people would take for granted that Japanese is of great necessity while working in Japanese companies. However, in practice, an excellent staff can also be active in the first line even if he does not know Japanese. This may be one of the characteristics of integrated trading company engaged in large-scale work. The company does not only sell commodities across country, but also blend into the local culture and create new value with various cooperative partners in different culture backgrounds. In this integrated trading company, in addition to the Japanese talents, various industry experts also play an active role in a variety of increasingly broadened fields.

"I was originally assigned to do sulfuric acid business, which belongs to inorganic chemicals sector of China Chemical & Electronics Business Unit. Sulfuric acid is used as raw material of chemical fertilizers, and China is one of the world's largest fertilizer markets. Since 2000, Sumitomo also starts its fertilizer business in China. In 2002, I was transferred to fertilizer operating sector. After then I was transferred to Sumitomo Fertilizer in 2007 and worked till now. "

"Do you feel a sense of uneasy working in Japanese companies?"

"I don't feel uneasy, but I feel it is quite different from U.S. Companies. There are a lot of rules in Japanese companies. Many people are against that. However the fact is, the purpose of these rules is to promote our work. This is one of the advantages of Japanese companies.

Next Page >>
Interview 1: Wheat Flour Business
Interview 3: Sulfuric Acid Business
Interview 4: Iron Ore Business
Interview 5: Coil Center Business
Interview 6: Cosmetics Business
Interview 7: Real Estate Development Business