Going from acquiring goods from the European market to now working with the WRC to establish a stronger foothold in supplying goods to the European Market, WRC sponsor Asahi Kasei has come full circle since its inception.
Beginning in the Japanese city of Nobeoka in the 1920s as Asahi Fabric Co. (Asahi meaning sunrise in Japanese), the company started out as a manufacturer of chemical fertilisers and artificial silk – the former to assist farmers and the latter to be used as a cheaper alternative in the manufacturing of kimono, the traditional clothing of the Japanese people. In order to achieve what it had set out to do, Asahi Kasei turned to Europe, acquiring the technology it required to produce its artificial silk from Germany and technology from Italy in order to assist with its chemical production.
In the preceding century, Asahi Kasei has grown into a publicly-traded global force employing over 40,000 people across 41 countries, expanding its award-winning portfolio along the way. It now plays a role in our everyday lives with few of us actually realising this. From fibres in clothing, to prescription drugs, to chemicals in shampoo and dishwashing detergent, right through to paint, batteries and the material for airbags in cars, the B2B-focused Asahi Kasei produces a wide, varying range of products for a multitude of consumer-based conglomerates.
A current area where Asahi Kasei is now aiming to strengthen itself is in the European automotive industry, introducing technologies from a number of its other divisions to contribute to automotive safety, comfort, and environmental performance.
Teaming up with the WRC has helped Asahi Kasei step towards achieving its goals, with the WRC’s strong standing in Europe opening doors for the Japanese manufacturer. Having similar core values to the WRC is an added attraction particularly in terms of sincerity, explains Yusuke Karube (Assistant Manager Automotive Marketing Dept. Asahi Kasei Corporation). “Sincerity is something that we believe we must have in common in order to be successfully represented in WRC events.”
Whilst the relationship has been developed in order to help Asahi Kasei achieve its goals in the European market, there will be additional excitement later this year, when WRC returns to Japan for the first time since 2010. “This will be a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Japanese Original Equipment Manufacturers and Tier 1, 2 customers as well as a chance to further establish the Asahi Kasei brand as one of the major players supplying the automotive industry,” said Karube.