Published on April 24, 2023
Delivering excellence "in China, for China"
Meet Managing Director for Business Unit China, Ji Chen, and learn more about Hendrix Genetics’ plan to deliver high performing products for this dynamic market.
Hendrix Genetics is on an exciting path to serve the Chinese market with high quality genetic solutions. At the end of 2022, Business Unit China was established. Achieving growth in China is a key area of focus with the guiding principle of breeding and genetics “in China, for China”. Through this model, we believe we can unleash the potential of Hendrix Genetics by providing high performing products that meet the needs of the market.
Business Unit China is led by Managing Director, Ji Chen. Ji has extensive experience in the agriculture industry and is primed to lead our dynamic sales and technical team to grow our operations in the Chinese market. In this interview, we are pleased to give you an introduction to Ji Chen.
Could you tell us some more about your background ?
I have a Master’s degree in Optics and Photonics. After graduating I have been lucky to gain experience in different positions in the agriculture industry. I spent seven years at McKinsey & Company as a Practice Specialist in leading mergers & acquisitions activities in agriculture and energy spaces. Before joining Hendrix Genetics, I worked at NetEase’s pork business and was involved in expanding the coffee business in Shanghai and Hubei as co-founder of Wonderbean Coffee.
Our guiding principle for establishing this new Business Unit is “in China, for China”. Can you give some more details on how we will accomplish this transformation in our approach ?
The important first step for this direction is to determine what products and services are best suited, “for China”. After that point, we will be able to decide what product offering to bring into China, now and in the future. Our focus is to build on the strengths of our organization and products. To take the first step, we are working together with partners to establish nuclear and pedigree farms for species that are in demand in China. This base of operations will drive our future growth in the market. For species that we do not have a clear product offering, we plan to complete the R&D process and product testing while targeting strong partnerships in China until we invest in these areas. This approach requires a strong team, both in China and from our operations around the world to import supplies from outside the country in the short term. With Hendrix Genetics’ global network, I believe BU China is in a great position to meet the needs of the market.
Which species do we plan to focus our energy on in China? Why are our products well-suited for the Chinese market ?
Our initial focus will be placed on swine, laying hens, traditional poultry and vannamei shrimp. From these segments, swine and poultry are the most scalable and faster growing segments of animal protein in the Chinese market.
Hendrix Genetics has a very long history in China. For example, Hypor entered the market in the 1990s and were one of the first genetic companies to establish a footprint in China. Even today, Hypor is remembered for its slogan, “easy sowing” and for the strong performance of our large white sows. Similarly for layers, ISA was known in the 1990s for being at the top of the market. Unfortunately, due to disruption of supplies in the following decades, we lost market positioning.
Traditional poultry is another area where there is great opportunity for growth. Currently, there is an upward trend in the demand for processed poultry products. In the past, many consumers would buy live chickens from the wet markets; however, now more consumers are buying products from supermarkets or online. The SASSO products offer excellent performance in carcass yield, which is exactly what the market needs at this moment. In naming all this, I would say that our products are perfectly suited for the Chinese market. To succeed, our focus will be to bring these products back to the market, establish the brands with the right partner, and win back the market share.
Do you have a personal motto in your life and/or career ?
As Master Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try”. This quote is a model to always push myself and to be decisive and action oriented. My goal is to be laser focused on the outcome and fully commit to actions rather than finding excuses. This motto is a key theme in my role as Managing Director and a part of our exciting plans for growth in China.
Thank you for speaking with me, Ji, and we look forward to the next update on our progress in this key region.