Our History

 
Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen established our roots in Asia at the end of the 19th Century. Their company Jebsen & Co began life in 1895 in Hong Kong. Having established a trading interest in Singapore and Malaysia, Jebsen & Jessen Group of Companies South East Asia was formally incorporated in 1963.

Being in the region through times of great change gives us perspective. We see our clients as partners and plan for the long-term development of relationships. Loyalty amongst our staff creates a substantial resource of wisdom, experience and expertise.
 
Throughout this history the benefits of sustaining an entrepreneurial attitude are in evidence. In our business today flat decision-making structures and a commitment to managerial autonomy pay tribute to our forefathers and enable us to be responsive.
 

Our entrepreneurial roots

Back in the 1890s Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen left their hometown of Aabenraa in the Duchy of Schleswig (now part of the Kingdom of Denmark) and began their journey to the East to set up a trading business in Hong Kong. In both families there was a history of trade and seafaring.
 
Heinrich Jessen
(1865 - 1931)
Jacob Jebsen
(1870 - 1941)
Officially established in March 1895, Jebsen & Co started out as agents for the shipping company of Jacob Jebsen’s father. Jebsen’s shipping company was a substantial enterprise, operating 14 steamers in China’s coastal trade.
 
Together the new partners quickly proved themselves to be capable, passionate and committed entrepreneurs. Bridging two distinctly different cultures, a bond was formed that has strengthened through the triumphs and challenges of the region’s history.
 
The guiding principle has been to work for a common goal, mindful that, as the Chinese philosopher Mencius explains: “Within the four seas, all men are brothers”.
 
In January 1909 the partners set up Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg in Germany to coordinate the trading activities and maintain relations between their firms in China and their European principals.
 
In December 1963, they established a trading interest in Singapore and Malaysia which, over the years, has evolved into a diversified regional business group operating as the Jebsen & Jessen Group of Companies South East Asia.
 
Jebsen & Co established offices in Canton in the early 20th century.
 
 

An unbroken chain of three generations’ commitment

120 years later, the founders’ legacy still connects East and West. The power of core values such as respect and autonomy are evidenced in the loyalty of staff. Many executives sustain long careers and families have dedicated themselves across several generations.
 
In the Family Enterprise today, all the companies succeed on the basis of the enduring principles that drove the original partners: build sustainable business and remain entrepreneurial in spirit.
 
Jebsen & Co continues to thrive and play a major role in Greater China functioning as an important trading link between China and the West. Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg operates independently as a company engaged in international trade, while Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) enjoys a strong market presence in ASEAN.
 
Together with our other sister companies Bodum, Triton Textile and GMA Garnet Group, the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise now employs around 7,000 people worldwide, with an annual turnover of EUR 3.2 billion.
 

Documenting and sharing our history

So much social and family history is connected to the Enterprise; it seemed fitting to create a commemorative book. The Three Mackerels brings together tales from the archives as well as current information about the activities of the business today. Images from Asia and the homelands of Northern Europe bring history to life. 
 
Click on the image on the left to browse through our publication.
 
 
 
 
 
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