AGROPAGES recently held a dialogue with the founder of Pilarquim, Dr. Roberto Tsai, who gave us a detailed introduction to Pilarquim's development philosophy from the very beginning of its creation to the current brand upgrading. From Tsai’s introduction, we know that Pilarquim is not only an innovative chemical company, but also an international company with a diverse cultural background. In the future, Pilarquim will ensure a greater brand vitality in this diversified environment.
AGROPAGES: As the founder of Pilarquim, please share more stories about the company’s establishment. And what is the origin and purpose of picking Pilarquim as the company’s name?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: On October 25, 1961, my father Mr. Ding-Bing TSAI established his own factory, Yuen-fa, for pesticides formulation in Tao-Yuan, Taiwan. Around 1970, the factory started the production of the paraquat herbicide. Since I joined the company in 1976, I started to import raw materials of paraquat and exported paraquat from Taiwan to start with.
Pilarquim is from my father’s company, Yuen-fa chemical. In Chinese, “Yuen-fa” means “stability and developing”; however, this name couldn’t be understood well by our overseas customers. I realised it would be better if I used a Latino name. “P” of Pilarquim is from paraquat, because this is the first and main product from our early stage business. We hope our customers can remember to source paraquat from Pilarquim. Pilar had two “Ls” at first, and pillar means columns, like the main pillars of macro buildings, it stands for stability; for better understanding and pronunciation I deleted one “L”, and quim in Spanish means Quimica – chemical. I merged these two words to have Pilarquim as our company name, which would be easy for our customers to remember. The main color of Pilarquim’s logo is green, which signifies growing together with our customers and agriculture.
AGROPAGES: Can you introduce the opportunities for Pilarquim to open up overseas markets? What difficulties did you encounter in the early stage of your business? How did you overcome them?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: Taiwan is a small island, the population is only about 20 million; the market is very small, I felt that we should export our good products so we started to export paraquat and other insecticides to overseas markets.
Since our main market turns to South America, Central America and the Caribbean area, we found that only English is not enough, as the main language for communication is Spanish, so I had to learn Spanish and understand Latin culture. I also realised it is necessary for better business, so I brought my family to Argentina. I lived in Bueno Aires, Argentina, for four years until I became more familiar with agriculture chemicals and the agriculture areas of Latin America. I realised deeply that understanding more about local cultural and speaking Spanish could satisfy my business needs.
AGROPAGES: Up to now, Pilarquim has been active in the international market for nearly 60 years. How do you build Pilarquim’s brand? Could you please introduce the new brand meaning of Pilarquim?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: Pilar is the value of Pilarquim. “P” stands for professionalism, “I” stands for innovation, “L” stands for leadership, “A” stands for assurance, and “R” stands for reliability.
To let our customers and our end users know more about Pilarquim’s products which have more innovations, better quality, a more stable and reliable performance, our sales team always visits them and goes to fields to deeply understand their real needs, and provide solutions to their crop problems. Pilarquim adheres to the values of integrity to provide customers with more reliable services.
AGROPAGES: For a company, the enterprise culture is the soul of its employees, the invisible hand that links the enterprise to our partners. Could you share with us how to carry on the inheritance and development of the enterprise culture?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: Pilarquim is a global company since its establishment. Although our colleagues are from different places and have different cultural backgrounds, even with different skin colors, the core culture that Pilarquim promotes is in line with basic human values such as innovation, craftsmanship, a grateful heart, honesty, responsibility, execution, advocating entrepreneurship, customer focus and so on; these are the cornerstones of our development that Pilarquim has been practicing.
AGROPAGES: We can find a lot of paintings from all over the world at the Pilarquim factory and offices. What is the idea behind bringing art into the pesticide business? How does it affect Pilarquim?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: People don’t always like chemicals, because they feel chemicals like morphia are dangerous. To satisfy their minds, I try to combine art, such as oil paintings, with chemicals. Since I travel to a lot of countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia and so on, I have made good friendships with artists across the world, and I always bring their oil paintings into my factory, and also let my staff enjoy the edification of art while working.
AGROPAGES: Besides the paintings, the sound of Pilarquim’s drums are also unforgettable to visitors. Could you please introduce the drum culture?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: Since I stayed in South America for quite a long time, I love music, especially Latin music and so on. These areas are also my main markets. I always talk music with my customers. I used to be a drummer, so I bring drums to my factory and invite my staff to join the drum team. Drums allow our people to concentrate on their work and pay attention to the cooperation between each other; this also results in doing a better job together.
AGROPAGES: What is your vision for the future after the acquisitions of Pilarquim (Shanghai) and Mindleader? What are your expectations? How do you think the company can further enhance its brand vitality?
Dr. Roberto Tsai: This is very important, since with the merging of multinational corporations, the competition becomes fiercer. Pesticide companies in China also have to merge together to become bigger companies to protect our good environment. Since the acquisitions of Pilarquim (Shanghai) and Mindleader, our people got together, our technologies got together, we have more innovative formulations and more differentiated products, we have bigger and more professional production bases. I am very confident we will do a better job and better business. Based on the core spirit of constant transforming, we believe we can be one of the biggest pesticide enterprises and build an independent Chinese brand in the global market in the next 10 years.
We always pay more attention to quality control to ensure the proper use for our farmers; this will help with a better harvest and for Pilarquim to have better brand vitality.