35th Anniversary of the Return to China

ILLIES is celebrating the 35th anniversary of returning to China this year. We are looking back deeply moved and filled with pride at the many milestones in our history of doing business in China. Today ILLIES CHINA offers a complete range of services focused on sales, comprehensive marketing and strong after-sales support. As sales and project partner, ILLIES CHINA links world-leading technology providers with the manufacturing industry in the Chinese market.

But how did ILLIES get here?

More than 100 years ago, the ILLIES GROUP already engaged in activities in China. After years silence however during the age of turbulence since 1940s, with the open-door policy in the early 1980s, ILLIES returned physically to China by establishing the first office in Guangzhou on May 3rd, 1986. This marked the starting point of sustained business growth. Nowadays, ILLIES is operating from offices located in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei.

The bond between ILLIES and China

ILLIES began for the first time to extend its business into the heartland of China where, together with the trading company H.C. Eduard Meyer & Co. / Karl Wolter & Co., it set up a subsidiary trading company in Tianjin in 1925: the company Meyer-ILLIES GmbH.

During these years, ILLIES set up several own branch offices in the region. As one of the first German trading companies in East Asia, ILLIES has contributed to several important projects. For example, ILLIES supplied installations for the newly erected steelworks in Anshan and, together with other companies, participated in an enormous business deal involving smelters and chemical plants.

In year 1978, with the opening of China under Deng Xiaoping, ILLIES re-started its businesses in China and returned to China officially by establishing the first office in Guangzhou in 1986. In the same year ILLIES set up a new branch office in the capital city Beijing, closely followed by offices in Shanghai.

The firm’s most important long-term strategic target in the 1990s was to grow its business in China, which was identified as an essential market of the future for the ILLIES Group. ILLIES decided to open branch offices in the country and pursue a strategy of regional diversification. What followed were numerous strategic steps that facilitated ILLIES’ success in China.

Over time, the enterprise enlarged its branch offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, where it also set up a center for technical services as well as the sale of spare parts and accessories. The branch office in Hong Kong now functioned as an organizational head office. Taking account of the geographical dimensions of the Chinese market, ILLIES expand into further provinces and in response to the increasing business opportunities the firm opened liaison offices in Nanjing, Chengdu, Harbin, Qingdao, Wuhan and Urumqi.

At the core of ILLIES’s business in China was its trade in textile machinery. With representations of its longstanding partner KARL MAYER and other leading European machinery and technology suppliers this business field was at a central focus. The firm’s capital expenditure in China began to pay off in the late 1990s. Business in China flourished well into the 2000s when Chinese investments in the textile machinery sector reached record levels.