Steinadler Co. – The Golden Eagle connecting Latin America & Asia
13 junio, 2014 1 comentario
Born in Guatemala City and having spent almost half-life in Taipei, Rodrigo Galvez, an international businessman, created his company Steinadler Co. in 2007, starting with the notion of exporting high-quality Guatemalan coffee connected with its history and cultural beliefs to the edges of South-East Asia.
His company’s name ‘Steinadler’ is the German name for the “Golden Eagle” species; known for their excellent accuracy, their sharp vision and high altitude flight as well as its elegance.
Due to his location (Taiwan), I had to communicate with him through e-mail and Skype, but everything went very smoothly. In my first few questions, I asked him about himself and how does he feel due to his job, as well as his company’s objectives and challenges.
He stated that he started doing business at the age of 16 back in Latin America. Mister Galvez has always been attracted to international trade and the exchange of markets, and his company’s main objective is to create a bridge for exchange between Asia and Latin America.
He mostly manages investments and the financial part of his company. For daily operations they have employees and usually outsource a wide array of services (which is something really easy and cheap in Asia).
I continued by asking about his career development and its company’s expansion and specialization in Agribusiness as well as in Construction and Industrial equipment and services, which shows that it is a quite broad and busy company.
R. Galvez pointed out that it has developed as he expected, even much more interesting than he thought someday it would become.
Steinadler Co. has specialized in different areas due to the “chain effect” being in Asia that it represents. R. Galvez said: “there isn’t anything too broad if you know how to expand it and organize it”.
He started importing coffee from Guatemala, and allocating it into different roasters and retailers, then the same customers became interested not only in coffee, but also cocoa, sugar, lobster.
Later, the same farms and suppliers back in Guatemala and Nicaragua took the opportunity to acquire equipment from Steinadler Co., at much lower prices than buying it locally. Products include harvesters, tractors, forklifts and other farming equipment. So they saw the opportunity to not only import, but also export to Latin America.
Nowadays, Steinadler Co. has market share in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. Same thing happened with construction supplies; “customers saw Chinese prices and quality is not “bad” or badly rated anymore”, there are even building materials companies listed in fortune 500 which they have agreements with and represent them for Latin America. “It’s mostly taking advantage of opportunities.”
I also had thoughts about the economic connection between Taiwan (Asia) to Guatemala (Latin America), as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) that increasingly improved trade relations between these regions.
R. Galvez said that there is a big difference between Taiwanese economic connection and (Asia in whole) economic connection with Latin America.
Some countries are pro-Taiwan; some others like Costa Rica are pro-China. In this case, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras are pro-Taiwan.
“That means, ZERO import taxes, good flow of communications, diplomatic relationships, assistance and excellent interest rates for getting credit lines.”
Imports and exports at least from or to Hong Kong and Taiwan are quite easy; “it’s not a hassle.”
R. Galvez said that what is difficult is to allocate products into China, if the country doesn’t have any diplomatic ties or economic relations.
An example: “we can’t directly enter Guatemalan coffee into China, because all sanitary certificates are not valid, cause there is no relationship or any ties between China and Guatemala.” So in the end, all the coffee needs to pass through Taiwan or Singapore, as Hong Kong nationalizes it, and then it is imported forward into China.
According to some news and the simple historical fact of the ideological, political as well as economical issues between Taiwan and China, I also had to ask him about these things.
He stated: “Our connection to the Republic of China is actually much better than 4 years ago. There are some trade agreements starting to take place between Taiwan and China. That’s a good advantage.”
He also mentioned that they are entering the Chinese market, through Taiwanese companies, which have already been established in China and which “already have the know-how to the Chinese market. “
Hong Kong is also another market Steinadler Co. has entered and it seems to be easier than China in whole (or Taiwan) due to its “strong international environment”, as R. Galvez has experienced.
I was also interested in some projects that they are currently working at. He told me about a Taiwanese solar energy products manufacturer that they are right now representing, and with it starting a big solar-energy generating system in Nicaragua, “with future plans for the Guatemalan market”.
Due to low land prices in Nicaragua, they are able to “lower costs, have an inexpensive operation and sell it to the grid for excellent profits.”
All in all, they are looking for expansion and profit, and already spread into many regions. So, I asked him what does his company contribute to the world or the regions, referring also to the world market or even to politics.
His answer was quite short, but powerful: “We contribute to the ‘internationalization’ of the Asia Pacific region.”
Due to his ‘internationalization’, I asked him about some visible effects caused by the financial crisis of the EU and if it influenced his company.He stated that they haven’t been largely influenced, “maybe only on the fact, that many European companies dropped their prices and Latin American countries were able to get European quality products / machinery at better prices – But still, it’s minimal”. He said that it wouldn’t be enough to compete with China or Taiwan, and in the end they also don’t sell any products to Europe at all.
Rodrigo Galvez is an experienced, creative and international business-focused man with great aspirations, who tries to connect and to improve Asia-Latin America trade; also importing and showing the world what his precious and productive country Guatemala has to offer.
I personally thank him for his time. I wish him good luck for his further work and I hope to follow his path on international business.
Written by DAVID J. K. TOFAN