On the 28th of April 2017, eight of the CITO representatives visited AkzoNobel in Taichung. We met primarily with Steve Wang, who has worked at AkzoNobel for more than 10 years and he got a background in chemistry from university. Besides his chemistry degree, Mr. Wang also has an MBA exam from the US. AkzoNobel has operated actively in Taiwan for more than 20 years.
Mr. Wang met us at his office in Taichung and showed us a PowerPoint to introduce us to the company and their specific branch. AkzoNobel could be divided into three sections; Color, protection coating and special chemicals. The branch in Taichung is in the special chemistry branch and their product is a Colloidal Silica. Colloidal Silica are many tiny bubbles which could be applied in a lot of different kind of products and purposes. One purpose is to make surfaces smoother so dirt won’t stick so easily.
Their biggest industry for Colloidal Silica is the semi-conductor industry in Taiwan, where they use the product to help isolate the electronic devices so they can build them more compact than previously possible. Even though AkzoNobel is well known by its customers, they are fairly unknown to the common people. Mr. Wang explained that this could be a problem when recruiting new talents because it’s harder to attract the best talent to join an international firm they haven’t heard of.
Mr. Wang also explained that there are always challenges in this kind of business with a lot of competitors producing similar products. AkzoNobel’s biggest advantage compared to their competitors is their consistency. They are not the cheapest in the market, but they always deliver high quality, which is crucial for most of their customers. When AkzoNobel are doing R&D they are trying to focus on the areas where the customers are showing a demand. They are also trying to find future markets and products still unknown to the customers to create that demand when they release a very good product.