Chinese Crop Royalties

Other China Hands

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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the November 6, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Princeton in China

If Don McLane’s factory in China makes cheap jewelry

for quantity sale in dollar stores, a Research Park-based firm has

a factory with products at the opposite end of the scale. From the

raw material of optical glass, Argyle International’s workers in Hangzhou,

China, make optical components such as prisms and lenses selling for

$500 to $1,000. "Our stuff is small volume, high value," says

Arthur Gillman, the president.

McLane recruits young men and women from rural areas to work for a

year or so in the city, but Argyle International’s 80 factory employees

are highly trained, Gillman says. "Many of our people are getting

recruited by international companies that are moving in, and we pay

a competitive wage."

Gillman is a physicist who worked in the arena of cosmology and theoretical

astronomy. He went to Tufts, Class of 1970, and has a masters in physics

from Princeton and a PhD from Rutgers. From 1981 to 1999 he worked

for LTS, a government contractor with an office in Trenton, most recently

as director of R&D. Gillman’s business partner, Lian Shentou, also

worked at LTS. Shentou had grown up in Hangzhou and went to college

there before coming to the United States for graduate school. The

pair founded the Argyle International in 1993 and went full time in


Like most optics firms, Gillman’s company has had to weather the telecom

debacle and as well as the general recession. "Everybody in optics

got caught up in the telecom business, which was buying 10 times more

than the entire world combined," says Gillman. "Those who

had concentrated on telecommunications went out of business. Then

came the general recession, and most of the optics suppliers are down

50 percent." Edmund Scientific, the catalog company in South Jersey,

is a competitor, though the business models differ. "We take returns,"

says Gillman, "but everything we do is custom made, and if we

make what you ordered, it’s yours."

More of a surprise is that Argyle was hit hard by widespread use of

the World Wide Web. Until four years ago, when the Web came to be

widely used for business-to-business purchases, Argyle enjoyed an

unusual competitive position. "We had the pricing of China, but

we talk in English and recognize contracts," he says. "With

the Internet the world got a lot smaller, and, in a sense, it hurt

us quite a bit." Now anyone willing to take a chance (and some

experts insist that Chinese factories still suffer from problems of

consistency) can deal with China directly. "You might be willing

to take a chance to pay $500 and save $1,500. Before the web existed

the little factories in China would have had absolutely no outlet."

Argyle International Inc., 254 Wall Street, Princeton

08540. Arthur Gillman, president. 609-924-9484; fax, 609-924-2679.

Home page:

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Chinese Crop Royalties

The Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Tianjin,

China, has signed a letter of intent to pay an initial $35 million

to Senesco Technologies Inc. to license its technology for improving

fruit and vegetable crops. Senesco will provide training and support

and could receive additional payments and royalties on future sales.

"Senesco’s technology will enable the more efficient production

of crops on a national level," says Bruce Galton, president and

CEO of Senesco. "We are certainly quite excited at the prospect

of bringing our technology to the world’s most populous market."

It will take from three to six months to complete the agreement.

Senesco Technologies Inc. (SNT), 303 George Street,

Suite 420, New Brunswick 08901. Bruce C. Galton, president and CEO.

732-296-8400; fax, 732-296-9292. Home page:

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Other China Hands

Salaries paid by Drianna China are fairly good for coastal

cities in the eastern region, says Christine Casati, owner of China

Human Resources Group, based on Airpark Road. Pay is higher in the

east than in the north, yet workers are plentiful near Qingdao because

the farms are suffering from a terrible drought.

Casati is one of a handful of Princeton-based consultants — including

Lee and Leonard Newton, Thomas Pyle, and Margaret Hsu — who focus

on Chinese trade. Casati grew up in Evanston, Illinois, where she

studied Chinese in high school, thanks to a Ford Foundation grant

that paid for teaching unusual languages. She went to St. Mary of

the Woods in Indiana, Class of 1972, and then did graduate work in

Asian studies at Georgetown and in Taipei. After living and working

in China for several years in the early 1980s, and being partner in

a Princeton-based firm, she bought the firm in 1988 and has eight

employees now.

"We are developing importing businesses in the areas of medical

supplies, dental supplies, and sporting goods," says Casati. She

sources from all over China for United States-based clients and major

providers whose identities are confidential. "In addition to our

core business — how to establish and manage operations in China

— we are recruiting senior executives to run businesses over there."

— Barbara Fox

China Human Resources Group, 29 Airpark Road, Princeton

08540;609-683-4521, fax 609-683-9670.

Iamasia China Counsel, 4 Glenview Drive, Princeton

08540; business operations management, foreign representation, and

sales and marketing for American companies doing business in China.

Lee Eric Newton.. 609-452-2988, fax 609-452-2988.

Newton Associates, 90 Dempsey Avenue, Princeton

08540; marketing communications counsel to utility, financial services,

health and media sectors, Asian representation. Founded 1975. Leonard

Newton, principal. 609-924-0861, fax 609-924-6017. E-mail:

Princeton Pacific Group, 50 Balsam Lane, Princeton

08540; Asian trade & finance specialists. Thomas H. Pyle, managing

director. 609-497-7550, fax 609-924-3890.

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