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AmoyMagic--Guide to Xiamen & Fujian
Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr. Bill Help Build an online  community for foreigners.  Join the Xiamen Guide forumOrder Books Common Talk Xiamen Dailys Weekly English SupplementXiamenguide Forum Guide to Xiamen and Fujian business tourism history culture cuisine entertainment investment Guide to Xiamen hsiamen amoy fuhken fukien
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These sisters put out the BB hot sauce!

The Super Sisters of B.B. Mercy Food Company!
慈光食品(厦门)有限公司
台湾高级调味品系列
Click Thumbnails for larger images
Click Here to see Sweden's most popular sauce!

Click for B.B. Contact Info

B.B. Brand Cayenne Pepper SauceSome people think that I love B.B. Brand condiments because B.B. stands for "Bill Brown," but actually "BB" is how "meimei" [美美"beautiful beautiful"] is pronounced in the Minnan dialect. And as I learned when I interviewed the manager, Ms. Louise Hou (侯满足), B.B. is a beautiful company indeed--and based right here in Xiamen.

Hot Idea B.B. was started by Mr. Wang
Wang ZherenZheren (王哲仁) in 1993 but had its roots in his parents' hot sauce business, which they operated from their home. Zheren's parents emigrated from Xiamen to Taiwan during the war with the Japanese in the 1940s. They were so poor that they lived with another family, and eked out a living sewing clothes and selling snacks until they came up with a hot idea--homemade hot sauce.
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For decades they brewed their hot sauce at home and bottled it by hand. After Wang Zheren graduated from university (about 1975), he borrowed money from the bank, bought land in Tainan City's Anping Industrial District (台南安平工业区) and built a factory. His brother joined him in the business about three years later.
the three sisters inspect a vat of soy sauce brewed the traditional way soy sauce aging properly the traditional way
vats of soy sauce made the traditional way

Returning Home In the early 1990s Taiwan began allowing businessmen to return to the Mainland, so Wang Zheren decided to return to Xiamen, which he had not seen since he was 7-years-old. His goals were to do business, as well as to help his hometown. So in 1993, Wang Zheren left his brother in charge of the Taiwan hot sauce business, set up shop in Xiamen, expanded the product line--and almost lost his shirt.

Rude Awakening Wang had been quite successful in Taiwan, but on the Mainland he lacked both reputation and relationships, both of which were crucial to survival.
Kuper Worcester Sauce sent to Germany
Xiamen did not have much of a market in the early 90s (we d
idn't have one supermarket!), so Wang introduced his products to other provinces such as Jilin, Henan and Anhui. B.B. condiments were a hit, and Wang naively shipped his products to the buyers on consignment, only to have one after another happily accept the products but refuse to pay for them. He appealed in vain to various governments, and with B.B. on the verge of bankruptcy, he withdrew from all markets outside of Fujian and focused on Xiamen.
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Dreams of Germany B.B. was virtually broke, with no money for materials, packing, or shipping. They always just managed to pay workers, but there was nothing left over. Wang and his wife Louise were on the verge of tossing in the towel and returning to Taiwan when Zheren had an unusual dream in which he had been invited to a German dinner. The keqi (polite, reserved) Zheren ate only 3 courses. A few days after his dream, Zheren was asked to send B.B. samples to Germany--and the German buyer chose 3 B.B. products. The profits from exports to Germany saved the company.

Bamboo Garden -- the brand name in Germany Some B.B. Brand sauces B.B. has a broad selection nowadays.

Bigger Dreams. Zheren had yet another dream six months later. This time he attended a sumptuous German banquet, and this time around he was not keqi! He sampled every dish set before him. Shortly after this dream, a the German firm asked for samples of more products, so Zheren sent ten samples, and they accepted all ten products. Now B.B. had enough of a financial cushion to reconsider the Mainland market.

sauce kitchen this sauce is really hot! quality testing

Tackling the Mainland Again. B.B.'s second encounter with Mainland Chinese markets was much more cautious, and it is now paying off. Their products are sold throughout Fujian Province, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Italy and Turkey, and the company is now eyeing the U.S. market. But just as B.B. seemed to be taking off, Wang Zheren passed away, leaving the firm in his wife's hands.
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Little Ship Capsizing On the morning of May 20th, 2000, while greeting a customer in Zhangpu, Wang Zheren collapsed, and died that night at 10 PM. Louise noted his mother also died on May 20th, 2000, at 10PM. She also said he'd dreamed about his death two years earlier, in 1998.

Bill and the bosses of B.B.Wang Zheren dreamed he was on a small ship, which was beside a large ship, and the small ship capsized, tossing him into the sea. As he sank into the depths, he realized he could now swim--and he woke up. He interpreted the large ship to be the mainland, and the small ship to be Taiwan. Two years later, on May 20th, as Louise watched the news of Taiwan's KMT losing power, she thought of her husband's dream of the little ship capsizing. Louise said, "We prayed together that morning at 6AM, that day My favorite BB brand condiment -- Chili Sauce.  Not as good as Tabasco though (sweet)the little ship capsized, and by that evening he'd passed on."

Taking the Reins. Louise had not been involved in the company over recent years because, as she said, "We were both strong-minded and fought alot over how to run things--so I stayed out of it!" But Louise faced many challenges as she tried to take charge. She had to deal with books that didn't balance, taxes, and recruiting reliable help. At one point she was seriously considering letting the company fold and return to Taiwan with her daughter. But she and her sisters stuck it out--though they are even today struggling with the challenge of hiring, training and retaining qualified staff.
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Management Woes B.B. started out hiring university graduates but found that many tended to be unreliable or, worse, they learned all they could and then left B.B. to work for competitors or set up their own businesses. So B.B. decided to promote from within, training workers for management positions. "We know them this way and can trust them," Louise said. "We wanted talented, knowledgeable and honest people, but the workers' education was not high so it was difficult to train them. And we found men were 'bossier' and more likely to take what they learned from us and job hop. Women were less likely to learn and leave."

[Note: In spite of B.B.'s preference for promotion from within, the firm is now seeking educated people for some key positions. E-mail Louise for info at: bbmercy@163.com ]

Moving Experience As if Louise and her sisters had not gone through enough trials, in 2006 the Xiamen government told B.B. they had to relocate--immediately. When Louise asked for one year's grace period to build a new factory, she was told she had no time at all! She had to move ASAP so her factory could be razed to make way for new construction. Swede 'n Sour -- Favorite Chinese Sauce in Scandinavia Sweden
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Louise bought land across the bay in Longhai, thinking her factory would help the local economy, but the local contractors tried to exhort such exhorbitant profits that she abandoned that idea and sought another place to rent in Xiamen. Miraculously, a group of buildings only 100 meters away was safe from the bulldozers because the military owned it. She signed a lease agreement and in one week moved the entire factory! But Louise is realistic. The military will eventually want to develop this prime real estate, so Louise is considering where B.B. will be 1 or 2 years down the road. One option is Tong'an, about half an hour north of Xiamen City, or perhaps Jiangsu Province, where a friend [Joshua Mo] is building a factory. "He's a genius," she said, "I could just use his brains, tell him what we need to build, and let him do it!"

B.B.'s Future? B.B. has made a name for itself, in both the Mainland and Taiwan, but its future is anything but certain. Yet Louise is not worried. She said, "After all I've gone through, I've learned to pray, to be calm, to be quiet, to let God make the decisions."
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Louise pointed to a framed calligraphic Christian inscription, 尊主为大 (Zunzhu Weida), and said, "I've seen that God must love me a lot--and He loves B.B. a lot too. So I tell my workers that God is the boss; I'm just the steward."


Contact B.B.
Xiamen Office: 0592 5931407 5930227
Shanghai Office: 021 64848361
Beijing Office: 010 81533598
E-mail: bbmercy@163.com B.B.Website: www.bbmercy.com

TRAVEL LINKS Hakka Earthen architecture Favorite Fujian Sites Photographs of Fuhken places like Zhangzhou, Longyan, Ningde, Sanming, Wuyi MountainFujian Foto Album AmoyMagic-- Travel , Resident and Business Guide to Xiamen and FujianXiamen Gulangyu Kulangyu Kolongsoo Kolongsu KulongsuGulangyu Guide to Fukien Fuhken Fujian Guides Mystic Quanzhou -- the fabled port of Zayton ( or Zaytun Zaitun Zaiton ) from which Marco Polo sailed,  Sinbad the Arab visited.  ChinchewQuanzhou Zhangzhou  changchow Zhangzhou Longyan Yongding Liancheng Changting Amoy Tigers LianchengLongyan Wuyi Mountain Guide Zhuxi  tea Wuyi Mtn Ningde Taimu Mountain ZhouningNingde Putian Fujian Xianyou Mazu TemplePutian Sanming Scenic Wonderland Mingxi Gem bed rubies Sanming
Zhouning Carp VillageZhouning
Hakka Earthen architecture Taimu Mtn. Hakka Earthen architecture Roundhouses Fujian covered wooden bridgesBridges Hakka Earthen architecture Jiangxi Hakka Earthen architecture Guilin Help Build an online  community for foreigners.  Join the Xiamen Guide forumOrder Books
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Gulangyu Kulangyu Kolongsoo Kolongsu Kulongsu
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Guide to Xiamen University Historic and modern, including departments -- Arts Science computers mathematics accounting management law department etc.Xiamen Univ

Mystic Quanzhou -- the fabled port of Zayton ( or Zaytun Zaitun Zaiton ) from which Marco Polo sailed,  Sinbad the Arab visited.  Chinchew
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AmoyMagic-- Travel , Resident and Business Guide to Xiamen and Fujian
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DAILY LINKS
Frequently Asked Questions about Xiamen andFujianFAQs Questions?
Info on apartments or houses in Xiamen, real estate agentsReal Estate
Xiamen Shopping guide malls supermarketsShopping Download  Xiamen MapsMaps
Train rail schedule for Xiamen, fukien Trains Amoy Bus ScheduleBusses
Xiamen hotels guesthouses hostels Hotels English News Services sources in Xiamen Fujian ChinaNews (CT)
Doctors Dentists Hospitals Clinics in Xiamen Jimei and Tong'an Medical & Dental
Xiamen YMCA and YWCAYMCA Volunteer! Xiamen International Christian Fellowship Expat Nondenominational interdenominational
Xiamen International Christian FellowshipXICF Fellowship 
Xiamen Churches Protestant Catholic Seventh Day Adventist Amoy Mission Missionaries AbeelChurches
Xiamen Expat Association Welcome SupportExpat Groups
Hire a Maid Household help servant baomu amah etc.Maids Xiamen Emergency and Frequently used telephone numbersPhone #s
EDUCATION
Xiamen University GuideXiamen University
Xiamen International School  International Baccalaureate ProgramXIS(Int'l School)
Study Mandarin Chinese or Minnan Dialect at Xiamen University  or with private tutorStudy Mandarin
 
China Studies Program Xiamen University  Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Washington D.C. Jay LundeliusCSP(China Studies)
Piano Island Music Events Xiamen Philharmonic OrchestraLibrary Xiamen Museum Library Science Center  World's largest organ museum Asia's largest piano museum China's first anthropology museum Sino Eurolpean art museum etc.Museums
History of Amoy Changchow Chinchew Zaiton Fukien etc.History
DINING
Xiamen restaurants dining western and Chinese cuisineRestaurants Xiamen Asian restaurants -- Singapore Thailand Thai Malaysian  Japanese Korean PhilippineAsian
Xiamen Vegetarian cuisine Nanputuo Temple Seventh Day Adventist Health foodVeggie Xiamen Restaurants Fast Food McDonalds KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken Pizza Hut Burger King (just kidding!) Cafes Coffee shopsJunk Food
Xiamen restaurants dining western and Chinese cuisineChinese Xiamen Italian Restaurants -- over 40!  Pizza pasta cheeseItalian
Western (Internationall) Cuisine in XiamenInternationalAlien visa info -- Americans, Europeans E.T. Outer space visitors
Chinese visa and passport informationVisas 4 aliens
RECREATION
Hakka Earthen architecture Massage!
Hakka Earthen architecture Beaches Kite Flying in Xiamen ChinaFly Kites
Sports -- Golf, Badminton Tennis Bowling Paint BallSports Xiamen Boardwalk One of the most beautiful boardwalks in China or anywhere else.  Along the Island Ring road over 6km long so far.Boardwalk
Xiamen Parks, recreation, hiking boardwalk etcParks Xiamen Museum Library Science Center etcPets
Bird watching in Xiamen Amoy  SwinhoeBirdwatching
Martial arts Chinese Kung FuKung Fu Hiking around Xiamen BushwalksHiking
Piano Island Music Events Xiamen Philharmonic OrchestraMusic Events
Chinese festivals and culture minnanFestival&Culture
Chinese Jokes Humor Funny China photosHumor&Chinese Jokes Humor Funny China photosFun Fotosfunny photos of China
BUSINESS
Doing Business Invest in Xiamen Fujian ChinaDoing Business
Work or teach in Xiamen, Quanzhou or other Fujian schools and universities  English French RussianJobs!(teach/work)
Hire permanent or temporary workers labor craftsmen maids tutorsHire Workers
Foreign Companies in Xiamen Joint Ventures Foreign Companies
China International Fair for Investment and Trade and Cross Straits Exchanges
CIFIT (Trade Fair)
Common Talk Xiamen Dailys Weekly English SupplementMTS(Translation)

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