Located in Duesseldorf’s harbor, Asahi Kasei Europe GmbH (AKEU), the European headquarters of the Tokyo-based chemicals and materials science company Asahi Kasei, celebrated its fifth anniversary this year.

AKEU supplies high-performance plastics and foams, synthetic rubber for eco-tires and market-leading lithium-ion battery separators to the automotive industry.

Hideki Tsutsumi, Managing Director of Asahi Kasei Europe | © AKEU
Hideki Tsutsumi, Managing Director of Asahi Kasei Europe | © AKEU

Bridges spoke with AKEU Managing Director Hideki Tsutsumi about the company’s commitment to the European automotive sector.

Bridges: Why was Duesseldorf chosen as the company’s European headquarters in 2016 and how has AKEU strengthened its approach to the European market?

Tsutsumi: We established the company in Duesseldorf because of the city’s suitability and its location. Duesseldorf is within reach of most large European cities and this is a huge logistical advantage. Our decision also allows us to be close to key players in the German and European automotive sector and provides us with the opportunity to expand our footprint across the region.

In 2017, we opened the company’s first research and development center outside Japan in Dormagen. Last year we consolidated our business and successfully brought sales, marketing, logistics, R&D and technical service together under one roof at our new offices in Duesseldorf.

What opportunities did this create?

This consolidation marks an important step in our company’s European expansion.

In addition to driving industry-related environmental changes, Europe is at the forefront of an automotive revolution — something which is said to happen once every century.

By bringing together all the different functions, we can address changing customer demands and create joint projects with local partners more quickly and more effectively.

With environmental sustainability and vehicle electrification taking place in Europe, what can customers expect from AKEU?

The shift to electric vehicles with more sustainable materials will dramatically accelerate in Europe, driven by legislation, but also by changing customer needs.

We are offering a broad range of solutions and look forward to working closely with our partners and customers across Europe to jointly contribute to this evolution. As a supplier of alkaline-water electrolyzers for the production of hydrogen we are also eyeing the European market as the leading region in regard to environmental technologies.