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PrimeAsia China celebrates its twentieth birthday

Tanning group PrimeAsia hosted customers and suppliers at its tannery in Huangjiang in China on March 13 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the facility’s opening.

PrimeAsia officially launched as a joint venture between Taiwan-based footwear manufacturing group Pou Chen and US leather manufacturer Prime Tanning, but production at the tannery in Huangjiang began in 1998.

At the celebration, Pou Chen president, JJ Lu, said a lot has happened since the drums began turning at the site and he insisted PrimeAsia China has gone on to become a leader in the global leather industry. He said its winning the global Tannery of the Year Award in 2013 showed this. “This is a great tribute to all who participated in the construction and development,” he added.

Among the reasons Mr Lu gave for the operation’s success, he highlighted Pou Chen’s determination to make a strategy of vertical integration work. In the mid-1990s, he explained, the Taiwanese shoe group realised that to meet the demands of the big-name footwear brands that outsource the manufacture of their products to Pou Chen, it was going to have to expand. Central to this expansion was building new production facilities in China.

“We knew that some of our existing suppliers of leather were not going to be able to meet our needs,” Mr Lu said, “so we launched this new policy and laid the foundation for PrimeAsia.”

In response, PrimeAsia chief executive, Jon Clark, said: “It’s 20 years that the bricks and mortar have been in place here, but it’s not really about the bricks and mortar. Our business is about people, people who have come together and made something special happen. What we are really celebrating today is 20 years of collaboration among all our stakeholders. That includes our customers, suppliers, our ownership, our employees, past and present, the communities we work in and our families.”

He said PrimeAsia has “roots that are unique”. The group is the brainchild of two very different companies, he explained, one in Taiwan, the other in the US, one making shoes, the other making leather. “But they had one thing in common,” Mr Clark said. “They both had visionary leadership.”

Jon Clark told guests at the event that, according to his calculations, PrimeAsia China has produced more than 1.5 billion square-feet of leather since production began.

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