Heineken's focus on Asia bears fruit APB as strategic vehicle for expansion "1993 was not just a good year, it was the real breakthrough." Maarten 11Rijkens, Coordinating Director Asia Pacific, is enthusiastic about devel opments in the region he is responsible for. That's only logical in view of the fast progress achieved there within a short space of time. In August last year Heineken announced that, via Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), it had acquired a participation in the Fujian brewery in China. A month later a joint venture contract was signed (also via APB) for the construction of a brewery near Bangkok, Thailand. November signal led the official opening of the new brewery near Ho Chi Minh City in Coordinating director Maarten H. Rijkens Vietnam. In the same month Heineken also announced that APB had acquired a majority shareholding in the New Zealand DB Group. Contrast These recent developments form a big contrast with the past. For decad es the Far East was a region which was not all too high on Heineken's list of priorities, explains Mr Bijkens. As long ago as 1931 the joint venture in Singapore had been started up with soft drinks manufacturer Fraser Neave, which resulted in Malayan Breweries (currently APB). But the joint venture's activities were mainly limited to Singapore, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. In that same year Heineken also acquired its interest in Indonesia. And yet Mr Bijkens does not play down the importance of that early joint venture. "With hindsight, the joint venture with Fraser Neave was an excellent move, as it means that Heineken has been represented in the Asia Pacific region for decades and has built up a wealth of know- how and market insight." In the shade In the 'seventies and 'eighties Heineken's strategy was aimed prin cipally at strengthening its position in the home market: Europe. This was demonstrated by acquisitions in countries such as Italy, Spain, France and Ireland. Asia remained somewhat in the shade. The second half of the 'eighties brought a phase in which Heineken decided to refocus its cooperation with Fraser Neave. In 1986 it was agreed with Fraser Neave that the partnership would be strengthened and that combined efforts would be made, within the framework of APB, to seek further expansion in the region. The participation in the Mila brewery in the Chinese port of Shanghai was the first tangible result. When he was posted to Singapore as deputy group general manager of APB, Mr Bijkens also helped to cata logue the exact possibilities that exist for Heineken in that region. On his return to Amsterdam in 1991, he con- THE WORLD OF HEINEKEN

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World of Heineken | 1994 | | pagina 28