WINTERSTEIGER ventures into the "Middle Kingdom"
Increasing sales of plot combines and seeders led to the establishment of a subsidiary in China in 2006. Feedback from long-standing Chinese customers was very positive and there were more than 500 other universities, academies, and institutes that needed WINTERSTEIGER products for their research and breeding activities. It was therefore no longer possible to sufficiently handle the huge market and provide good after-sales service with the resources available in Ried alone.
In Sandra Lutz, WINTERSTEIGER Management Board members Günther Kamml and Roland Greul as well as Head of Seedmech Martin Schubert found the perfect person to send to China: Ms. Lutz already had some initial experience of the market and the language–both the best prerequisites for taking over management in Beijing. The first step was to find an office and a location was chosen on one of Beijing's main streets, Chang'An Avenue, near Tiananmen Square. Together with her first assistant Li Dan, tax numbers and licenses were obtained; the full license for the import of machinery was especially important. Sales staff and service technicians were also hired at the same time.
The most important thing for the success of the subsidiary was to get access to customers and expand the network. To do this, Sandra Lutz and her team adopted a split approach. Existing contacts to global key accounts in the region such as Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF were cultivated, while the good relationships with Chinese regular customers were also nurtured. The team made new customers aware of the specialized solutions from WINTERSTEIGER. This ever-growing "guănxī" has helped China to become one of Seedmech's most important markets. The original contact with the state agency CAAMS with Ms. Qi as the contact person was not neglected either: Ms. Qi had already been ordering machines from WINTERSTEIGER for many years.
Alongside Sandra Lutz, her Ried colleagues Hans Schwarzmayr as Area Sales Manager and Frank Farkas as Service Technician were among the key players in the start-up phase. Frank Farkas was extremely popular with customers: he had products specially adapted for China and, during many training courses, convinced the customers of the right way to use them and even the right time to start the harvest!
The decision to establish a subsidiary in China came at exactly the right time–before our competitors could gain a foothold. The feeling for the culture and the great commitment of our colleagues made the founding of this subsidiary a great success.
First office with two rooms in the Regus Business Center
Frank Farkas in action, still working as a service technician at WINTERSTEIGER in 2023.
Even then a popular gift for customers: schnaps from Ried