TCI Biotech is a highly reputable listed company in Asia. Now the original design manufacturer (ODM) of functional foodstuffs and skincare products also wants to conquer Europe. The first European office was opened in Rotterdam at the beginning of 2020.
Yin Liu lives in The Hague but in no time, the managing director of TCI Biotech can get to her office, located in De Rotterdam. ‘I board the metro in The Hague and get out at Wilhelminaplein which is almost right outside the door. Fantastic,’ says Yin with a big smile. The good accessibility by public transport was one of the decisive points for TCI Biotech in choosing Rotterdam as its new European location. ‘Rotterdam is a great central location for us to connect with all of our European customers. We are also close to the port and the companies that are of interest to us. Schiphol Airport is not very far away either. What’s more, we were received very warmly by the people at Rotterdam Partners en InnovationQuarter.’
The arrival of TCI Biotech means a major player has come to town. The Taiwanese company has been operating for 40 years and is active in 55 countries. As an original design manufacturer, it makes functional foodstuffs and skincare products for companies and brands, such as healthy drinks, food supplements, facial masks and other skin care products. TCI can take care of the entire process: from conceiving the formula to its (mass) production, marketing and after-sales. It already does this for Unilever and the French company Sephora, among others. TCI has a total of more than 1,100 customers, who are served from ten offices: eight in Asia, one in the United States and the brand new office in Rotterdam. The move to Europe was made because turnover there has grown significantly in recent years (a 30% increase in 2019 compared to 2018) and TCI sees a great deal of potential here. Because of the excellent business climate for international companies, their choice fell to the Netherlands.
‘Our first goal is to get a better picture of the European market. What do European consumers and our customers need? What does the competition look like? That sort of thing’, says Yin, who studied at Leiden University and worked for ten years at another Taiwanese company in the Netherlands. ‘A next step could be to set up our own warehouse, logistics and possibly a research and development department here. In the phase after that, we could start manufacturing in Europe ourselves, in collaboration with others. But that’s really the long-term perspective. We want to take this step by step. For us, this is a marathon, not a sprint.’
TCI Biotech Netherlands has already had its first successes. ‘We have customers in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. We have been able to consolidate our collaborations with them, while also welcoming a number of new customers. We are very pleased with that, because it’s not easy to enter an existing market as a relatively unknown player. In addition, all our products have to come from Asia, which entails extra costs. The corona crisis came on top of that, but fortunately we haven’t suffered too much from it. Despite all these challenges, I look back very positively on the first few months here.’
Yin has, above all, great confidence in the quality of TCI. In Asia, we are positioned as a premium ODM. Our European customers are also in the higher segment. Many Europeans ask me, very directly: what makes TCI different from others? The answer is: our strong commitment to making our customers more successful than they already are. Everything we do is focused on that. We believe in our products and our technology, but above all in that vision. It’s not for nothing that 93 percent of our current customers are return customers.’