The Chinese company Yokechem has already been an active player in the European market for a number of years. Under the name Shekoy Chemicals Europe BV, the manufacturer of phosphate fire retardants has been operating out of the Netherlands for an extended period with regard to its distribution activities, and in 2008 the company decided to establish itself in Breda. The choice of Brabant was due in particular to its strategic location in terms of the international port of Rotterdam and the excellent infrastructure available.
Yokechem has three branches in China and is headquartered in Yixing in the province of Jiangsu, a province with which Brabant has had an economic relationship for over a decade. The company is China's famous producer of phosphate fire retardants that are employed primarily in the plastics industry. These include polyurethane products that are used in the manufacture of insulating and fire-retardant foams, amongst other things. Annual production reaches over 80,000 tons per annum.
Europe was the first continent outside of Asia that Yokechem focussed on when it came to extending its market. And this has met with great success to date. Yokechem's European market has grown dramatically in recent years, and it counts a number of chemical multinationals amongst its clientele. And that is why the Chinese company decided some time ago to set up a distribution office in Western Europe. Jack Phua of Shekoy Chemicals Europe takes up the story: "We had a preference for the Netherlands in any case, thanks to the tax climate and its strategic location with respect to the European mainland. Initially, our office was not in Brabant but elsewhere in the Netherlands. But it soon became evident that Breda was, with regard to the Port of Rotterdam where our goods arrive, a much more favourable location." Shekoy Chemicals Europe had by then also settled on Brabant for the storage of its products. "We serve our clients across Europe from the Moerdijk industrial estate," says Phua. "We don't fall victim to traffic jams in Brabant and the road links to the rest of Europe are outstanding."
From its Breda offices the Chinese company has also discovered the other logistical qualities that Brabant harbours, and it has cooperated with a number of companies in the region in its transport and distribution activities. Phua also lauds the cooperation of the Brabant Development Agency. "They hunted out the location where we are today on our behalf and put us in contact with the Breda municipality. Our relationship with the agency has continued to be of great value, even after we had settled here."
Shekoy Chemicals Europe started off in Breda with only a handful of employees, but it anticipates the further growth of European sales and so also expects its distribution office to expand.Jack Phua now lives in Brabant himself, and is very happy there indeed. "Brabant is not only a perfect place to launch a company; it is also a great place to live."