Interview Of Chris – China

Can you introduce yourself (profile, studies, experiences, what you do today…) ?

I arrived in France in 2009, I learnt French for 1 year after highschool in China. I did a bachelor’s degree in Economics at the University of Poitiers and a double master’s degree (globalization and strategies of firms also in Poitiers). Then I did an MBA at EXCELIA (ESCEM, French business school at the time).

Before joining Asserva I worked in Zengxin Technology, a Chinese company (which was the reseller of Asserva, ITEK, SCHAUER etc…) where I met Dominique, Valentin and the members of the company.

I was in charges of the export sales department and the relationships with foreign companies with a little team of 7-10 people.

I joined Asserva in 2018. Nowadays I’m in charge of reselling Asserva’s products on the Chinese market and I manage Asserva Schenzhen (Asserva’s filliale in China). I also have other several missions such as sourcing, marketing on the Chinese market.

What is your vision of Asserva today on the international stage ?

Asserva started its development in the Asian market in 2016 and today we have just completed the first phase of development: the creation of sales networks with local resellers.

In my opinion today, export selling doesn’t represent the huge part of Asserva’s business. But it’ll become an important part in the future. The French market is the cash cow which allows to continue all the activities in the company, but the market is saturated. So, Asserva on the international market may be subject to great growth tomorrow ; not only for sales but also for sourcing and branding, which can also help Asserva in France.

In relation to your experience in France and your French relationships (at work), what are the cultural differences (France/China) that you encounter on a daily basis at the business level ?

It is more about the way of thinking (in professional environment) which is different. I know both cultures fairly well, my role is to find a balance between the two and to create a bridge so that both parties understand each other.

Here is few examples :

The decision is often made very quickly in China and it can also be changed several times over time, so we are forced to adapt to customers, modify plans, change the start-up schedule, installation etc…

In France, things are better organized and planned, you have far fewer «surprises».

Chinese want their materials as quick as possible (1-2 weeks) after paying or deciding because they’re used to receiving quickly. Everything goes fast in China.

But we have much longer delays in France.

Here in China, people don’t respect intangible know-how enough and our ideas or equipment can be copied easily compared to Europe. 

What is your vision for the future of the pig market in China ?

The pig market in China is quite saturated in volume (with +- 40 million sows and +-800 million pigs/year) but the cost price is higher compared to France.

There is therefore a big market potential to reduce the cost price, improve technical performance (in equipment and also in management), increase the technical result (PSY 20 on average in China today).

During the year 2020 and 2021, the African swine fever was very intense in China, so many animals (pigs) had to be slaughtered and not sold while at the same time the price was very raise. The farms are in poor condition and it’s 20 to 25% of the breeding farms that are empty today (the selling price is lower than the cost price for some). To bring these farms back into well condition, there are many restoration projects to be done. This is a challenge for the industry but also a market opportunity for Asserva.

What is your vision for Asserva in China ?

The Chinese pig market represents more than 50% of the global market. From my point of view, it is probably very important for Asserva not only to consider it as a sales market but also as a supply market or as a relocation market for the production of specific products for example. But to do this, it will be necessary to imagine it differently from other industries already present in China, such as the car industry, electronics, etc.

The local players are on the same level as the international players, or even more advanced for some of them. Be aware, that the Chinese learn quickly and we are able to catch up quickly with the competition.

So, there are still many opportunities for Asserva, but we have to adapt to local needs.

Do anything you would like to share with the company, with the customers ?

I would like to share French know-how with Chinese customers (technologies, management) and show them the breeders in France if possible (discuss with French breeders).

Then having more exchanges between the two countries in our field.


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