It all started back in 1955 with five
Mr. Jebsen, your company looks back on a 60-year partnership with
It has been a great partnership right from the beginning for the simple reason that the companies share a set of common values, with a very simple understanding that you stick to your word, you go through thick and thin, and you don’t need to look at partnership agreements. The minute you do, something is wrong, like in a marriage! We are proud that our companies have stood shoulder to shoulder even during trying times. Right now I have no doubt the future holds terrific promise in our markets, from a rising urbanized population that is maturing into a consumer class, appreciating the qualities that
Can you tell us about the early days?
My father met Ferry
How do you think Jebsen has maintained such a solid relationship in this dynamic industry?
Openness, communication, essentially loyalty is the key issue. As we sit here today we have a large number of staff who go back over three generations; our present CEO is third-generation, too. One has to say that good partnerships are well beyond KPIs, but have all to do with the simple qualities of trust and reliability. To be one of the longest-serving partners of
What is the cooperation like today?
Why has the Jebsen family made Hong Kong its home for so long?
Hong Kong is simply a great place to be. My greatgrandfather was the first member of my family to decide that Hong Kong was an interesting port of call, and he made this a regular stop. In fact, in the 1860s he set up an office in Hong Kong and came to this port so regularly that my grandfather decided to open up a trading company with his later brother-in-law in the 1890s. These two were the first partners of the Jebsen Company, which later became a trading company, plus shipping. The family has gone through thick and thin in Asia. We started off as German citizens before the First World War, coming from what is now South Jutland in Denmark, and really stuck to our second home on the South China Coast, with Hong Kong as our prime residence, having really become very much interwoven with the local scene.
And what do you like about the city?
Hong Kong is a very open society. It is one of the few true meritocracies in the world. It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you claim you are; what matters is what you can contribute, whether you are here for four generations or four days. Hong Kong is part of China but it is a little special. It has the best of both worlds. And it has the largest
By the way, which model do you drive?
I drive a
What is your favorite model of all time?
That is a difficult one, because there are so many nice ones, a bit like favorite wines! But when we celebrated our 40th anniversary in 1995, I bought myself a 911
Nowadays eco-technology is on the advance. How does this affect and influence
I think that is a dynamic process.
And the future for Jebsen and
The future is not just about selling new cars, but taking care of a very sophisticated market in service and finance in pre-owned cars and dealing with all those aspects around a total experience of satisfying customers who are becoming more demanding, more sophisticated, and have more choices. It’s about running faster together with more competitors. That is the future and it is just as exciting as before. In any event, I can’t imagine a better partner to work with than
Interview by Rosheen Rodwell
Photo by Chris Lusher
Hans Michael Jebsen joined the Jebsen & Co. family business in 1981. He took the helm as company chairman in 2000. Founded in 1895, this business enterprise markets consumer and industrial goods around the world—as well as