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Company Profile

Company Profile

H.J.Unkel Group, was founded in 1925 with its companies in China and South-East Asia, serving customers with high-quality technical instruments and chemical products at competitive prices, and providing prompt and efficient maintenance as well as calibration services.

The H.J.Unkel group represents some of the finest and most famous brands in the world and is dedicated to serving mainly the following industries:

Technical Instrument Industries

* Paint Manufacture

* Printing Ink Manufacture

* Automotive

* Electronics and Electrical Appliances

* Plastic

* Aluminium profile

* Battery

* University and Institute

Chemical material Industries

* Printing Ink Manufacture

* Paint Manufacture

* Sealants Manufacture

* Powder Coatings Production

* Plastics Processing

* Adhesives Manufacture

* Plastics Processing

* Glass and Ceramics 

The product range handled by the group companies comprises both Sales and Service of:

Specialty Chemicals

Laboratory Instruments

Inline measurement equipment for coating line

Coatings Additives

Process Machinery

Polymer Additives    

Specialized Pumps

Mr.Heinrich J.Unkel

The current Group Chairman
Mr. Helmut  Unkel

                    The first business license

H. J. UNKEL, The Company established  in 1925.

Background - Geographical

"Unkel am Rhein ’ is a beautiful small city near Cologne founded in the year 1100 and famous for its red wine, the poet Freiligrath and the Rheinhotel Schulz which lies along the Rhein promenade with a fantastic view of the fabled river Rhein.

Background - Personal

Franz Unkel was born in the year 1520; he left for south Germany and worked as a goldsmith in Stuttgart. He represents the first generation of Unkels.

1st generationFranz Unkelborn 1520

2nd generation

Ernst Unkelborn 1552
3rd generationSalomon Unkelborn  1611
4th generationSalomon Unkelborn  1642
5th generationSalomon Unkelborn 1692
6th genera ionEgidius Unkelborn 1728
7th generationChristian Unkelborn 1761
8th generationGottlieb Unkelborn 1796
9th generationGustav Unkelborn 1845
10th generationHeinrich Unkelborn  1891
11th generationHelmut Unkelborn 1938
12th generationDenise Unkelborn 1970

Background - China

Heinrich Unkel was very interested in far-away places. He contacted German companies outside Europe which offered positions to young Germans. The first company who replied positively was the GERMAN PHARMACY in Shanghai. He immediately accepted their offer and arrived in Shanghai in the year 1911, at the age of 20.

World War I

When the first World War broke out in 1914 Heinrich Unkel joined the German Military Garrison in Tsingtao, the famous “beer city" on the northeastern coast of China. During the fighting with the Japanese he got seriously wounded and was taken to a Japanese military hospital in Japan where he had to stay for nearly one year until fully recovered and was able to be transferred to the Shizuoka Prisoner of War camp. Whilst in the POW camp he considered escaping from the camp - which he finally succeed: disguised as a Canadian Military Officer named "Captain Underwood”,and travelled the 200 km to Tokyo where he took passage on a ship to Shanghai. There he encountered too many Japanese soldiers and feared exposure, boarded a train - and travelled through China and all the way to Siberia, Russia and Poland to Germany where he arrived in the year 1918 with a revolution going on.

When the war over he returned to Shanghai in 1920, got his old job in the GERMAN PHARMACY again - and started thinking about setting up his own company.

"H. J. Unkel”

The company "H.J. Unkel” was established on 1st March 1925 and was registered in Szechuan Road No. 33/308, Shanghai. He cooperated with many famous European suppliers like SANDOZ (Switzerland), RIEDEL-de HAEN (Germanγ) and F.W.BERK (England), whose products he sold to the local pharmaceutical factories whom he knew well from his time in the GERMAN PHARMACY. The years from 1925 to 1938 were very good for him, he was able to marry and build his own house in the Hongqiao district of Shanghai. 

Order received on 22,Mar, 1928 

Heinrich Unkel inShanghai

World War II

The Second World War was terrible. Heinrich Unkel was forced to leave China and returned to Germany after receiving a re-entry visa from the new Regime.

Regrettably he overstayed his visa and his permission to return to China was no longer valid. He spent some more time in Europe to establish contacts with new suppliers, such as the old famous pigment factory "SIEGLE ’ today part of BASF.

In 1956 he travelled to Hong Kong and was able to make contact with many of his old Shanghai friends who had re-established their factories in Hong Kong, mainly in textiles but also in other industries, such as enamelware for export to Africa.

Hong Kong

Heinrich Unkel re-established his "H. J. Unkel” company in Hong Kong on 15th February1957 at 24 Connaught Road Central and later moved to 37 Queen’s Road under Business Registration no.64904. By that time he was 66 years old.by that time he was 66 years old, since he had no children of his own, he contacted his younger brother Wilhelm in Stuttgart to ask his son who was 19 years old if he would be interested to come to Hong Kong and join the company. Helmut Unkel happily agreed and arrived in Hong Kong after taking about a year to learn H.J.Unkel’s principals and receive technical and commercial training from company.

Business Registration Certificate in year 1958

Heinrich Unkel and Helmut Unkel in HongKong

Developing New Markets

The US Embargo on trade with China during the Korean War had made entrepot-trade with China impossible, so it was essential to develop new business in Hong Kong, as the local pharmaceutical industry was not big enough to support the company. Luckily the enamelware business was doing well: In fact the SIEGLE factory was overjoyed when H. J. Unkel obtained an order for 10 tons of Cadmium Red, a quantity never before sold in one lot. And Helmut Unkel found that the local paint factories were very interesting. When given his first home-leave after 3 years he used most his time in Europe to find new suppliers for that industry. He returned with agency agreements for SUSSMEYER paint machines from Belgium, testing instruments for ERICHSEN in Germany and quite a few chemicals manufacturers. The plastics industry also developed well which was good for the SIEGLE pigments.

Branching Out

Heinrich Unkel passed away in Stuttgart in the year 1971, aged 80. Helmut Unkel decided to change the type of the company to a Limited Company and considered if the firm should expand to other industries, such as textiles. Ultimately it  decided to grow geographically but to remain In the same general trading pattern, especially since there were strong signs that China would become an interesting market fairly soon. Thus it began the development of H. J. Unkel companies in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and China, starting with an office in Shanghai and soon after one in Guangzhou.

In 21 century, H.J.UNKEL grow up with principles and customers, had developed 9 offices in China. We participate various trade exhibitions and seminars, such as CHINACOAT, CHINAPLAS, AUTOTEST, PCHI etc.

Our customers and our suppliers know that we strictly protect our good name as a business partner on the principles of QUALTY, RELIABITY and HONESTY.

Past, Present and Future

Having been established in the year 1925, we will reach the 100 Year milestone in a few short years. One Hundred Years of successful working in Asia and looking forward to continue our faithful cooperation with our suppliers and customers.

We are appreciated of our wonderful customers

We are appreciated of our wonderful suppliers

And in conclusion:

We are appreciated of all the wonderful people working with us!

Why choose us

The superior profession oral traditions


The stable sales-team


The professional senior of technical support


The highly-efficient after-sales service


The widely client resources


The all-covering sales network