Explore Our Past
In 1895, Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen co-founded the company of Jebsen & Co. with the belief that making strategic and long-term investments in a fast-changing world can open up unparalleled opportunities.
Jebsen’s Rich Shipping Heritage
Shipping was the bedrock of the company’s activities and remained an enduring thread in its historical tapestry long after Jebsen’s ships were sold in the early 1980s. Jebsen also played a key role as agents to renowned shipping lines such as Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Rickmers, Senator Lines and Columbus Line.
The SS Heinrich Jessen was the first Danish ship order ever placed in Hong Kong, as well as the first Hong Kong ship fitted with a radar. As the first Jebsen ship to return to business after World War II, it helped transport essential food and medicine between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
A Colourful Path:
Bringing Synthetic Dyes to South China
The company’s partnership with BASF helped dyes such as synthetic indigo and indanthrene become part of daily-life fabric in the 20th century South China.
In 1897, Jebsen was appointed sole BASF agent in South China, and in the same year, BASF successfully produced a synthetic indigo dye. Given that almost everyone at that time in China had at least one indigo-dyed jacket, an enormous market opportunity was presented for this new product.
BASF had been active in China since the 1880s. Through their partnership with Jebsen, they saw exponential growth, achieving a threefold increase in sales between 1897 and 1900.
Another key dye product distributed by Jebsen was indanthrene. More advanced, colour-fast and durable, it was available in many colours, with blue the most popular. Indanthrene fabric was both woven and dyed in China, contributing to the growth of the country’s manufacturing industry.
From Distribution to Supporting a Metropolis: Hong Kong on the Move
1955 marked not only the arrival of the first Porsche car in Hong Kong – one of Porsche’s first international markets – but also the beginning of Jebsen and Porsche’s ongoing partnership.
Drawing on more than 65 years of commitment and investment in world-class Porsche Centres and personnel, distributing one of the world’s most iconic cars has become one of our fastest growing businesses in Greater China.
In 1906, Jebsen acquired the Blue Girl Beer brand and brewing formula. It has since become one of Jebsen’s most successful brands, evolving through the years into Hong Kong’s leading beer.
Jebsen also distributes other well-known beer brands in Hong Kong, including Budweiser, Corona, Hoegaarden and Suntory The Premium Malt’s.
In 1968, Jebsen pulled off one of the most memorable marketing events in Hong Kong history when managers Herbert Adamczyk and Jan von Doetinchem drove a modified Volkswagen Beetle across Victoria Harbour.
Jebsen represented Volkswagen in Hong Kong from 1953 to 1989.
In 1968, the “Jebsen Wheel of Fortune” debuted on the Hong Kong TV programme Enjoy Yourself Tonight. The immensely popular lucky draw game was hosted by the company’s very own “Miss Jebsen”, Ms Jennifer Fok. Prizes ranged from Bosch washing machines to a Volkswagen car.
At a time when television was the newest and most exciting form of advertising, the “Jebsen Wheel of Fortune” made Jebsen a household name.
As Siemens’ representatives from the 1950s to the 1980s, Jebsen played a significant role in the modernisation of Hong Kong, supplying advanced medical technology and telecommunication solutions to both the public (including the MTR) and private sectors. We also brought affordable household luxuries – such as Siemens washing machines and Siemens water heaters – to Hong Kong’s emerging middle class.
Milestones of Jebsen
Jebsen & Co. established by Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen in Hong Kong
Signs an agreement with BASF to trade indigo dye and start its business in the industrial sector (Photo: Courtesy of BASF Archive)
Establishment of Diederichsen, Jebsen & Co., marking Jebsen’s first joint venture, in China with businesses including a Qingdao brick factory
Sets up its first Chinese mainland offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou
Acquires Blue Girl Beer, which remains one of the most historic and iconic beverage brands in Hong Kong
Becomes the Mercedes-Benz agency for the Chinese market and started the Motors business
The SS Heinrich Jessen, Hong Kong’s first ship fitted with radar after World War II, is launched
Imports the first Porsche to Hong Kong
Attends the inaugural Canton Fair; a regular diary fixture in subsequent years (photo: Courtesy of Mr Traugott Goll)
Acts as agent for Lufthansa in Hong Kong from 1956 to 1979
Sole agent for some 25 European manufacturers of textile machinery
Ground-breaking collaboration with Siemens on a 10,000-line, computer-controlled public telephone system at Lai Chi Kok’s Telephone Exchange
The first Liaison Office opens in Beijing; Jebsen is the first European company to create a telex line between Beijing and Hong Kong (photo: Courtesy of Mr Traugott Goll)
Establishes Jebsen Fine Wines in Hong Kong, setting the stage for it to become one of the largest independent wine importers and distributors in Hong Kong
Introduces series of CASIO digital cameras into Hong Kong
Establishes Jebsen-Mazzucchelli — its first joint venture, and expands into manufacturing
Imports the first Porsche to Chinese mainland
Launches the multi-brand lifestyle retail store named J SELECT
Celebrates its 120th anniversary and 60 years of collaboration with Porsche
Launches a new business line, Jebsen Capital, to capture investment opportunities in promising new industries while strengthening the company’s existing core businesses
Opens Asia’s first Porsche Studio in Guangzhou
Opens new plant in Dalian, together with Austrian partner TCG Unitech to tap China’s fast-growing auto market
Jebsen Beverage forms a Blue Girl Beer joint venture with AB InBev in the Chinese mainland