David Garcia, a Hong Kong based businessman, started working in the iron and steel sector in 1988 as an independent marketing consultant.
David Garcia’s entry into the Asian iron and steel industries was fortuitous.
China had emerged into a tide of swift industrialization and economic rebooting after Deng Xiaoping implemented capitalist reforms in the late 1970s. China had previously lagged in steel industry development compared to its global counterparts.
The effects of the capitalist reforms flowed onto the 1980s and beyond, propelling China as a keyplayer in the steel production global arena.
David Garcia saw the opportunities for development of the Chinese steel industry and enthusiastically took part in it.
Iron and Steel in China
In 1989, he pioneered in marketing 60,000 tons of Iscor Iron Ore from South Africa into China. Iron ore is one of the raw materials necessary for the production of steel.
A good understanding of the market is always required to be able to balance market forces at play, and consistently provide supply according to the burgeoning demand for steel. At the time, China was already deeply focused into strengthening its manufacturing industries, such as those for consumer electronics, building materials and automotive vehicles. David Garcia not only had the marketing knowledge, he also had good contacts overseas, and was able to help bridge the gap between supply and demand.
He built the business up over the next year to 250,000 tons and was then asked to head up the Iscor Far East marketing team in their joint venture company, Trans Orient Steel.
Over the next ten years, he further developed Iscor’s iron ore business, growing it to over 6 millions tons per annum. At the same time, David Garcia developed a marketing team selling Iscor’s steel products into China, where he built a successful iron ore-for-pig iron conversion business.
In 1992, David convinced Iscor to look at investing in a port and stockpile facility in China. He was able to successfully negotiate a joint project between Iscor and the Qingdao Port Authority at their Qianwan Port.
David Garcia led the team from the Iscor side and assisted the Qingdao Port Authority in the construction and development of the 100,000 ton berth and stockpile at the Qianwan Port.
With his reputation solidly established as a marketing consultant and business investment negotiator, David was recruited in 1997 by Glencore International AG, to find a solution to their poor standing in China.
In time, David and Glencore arrived at the conclusion that a venture in the pig iron manufacturing sector would be the most practical route to take.
It was at this point that the skills of David Garcia in project management and business acquisitions came out into full play. He located a bankrupt and basically defunct plant in Nanjing and successfully negotiated the first foreign joint venture in China where the foreign company was able to manage a strategic state-owned enterprise without interference from the government.
He then oversaw the restructuring and rebuilding of the plant. Turnaround time was within 18 months, after which, he then turned it into a profit- making enterprise. One of the results of David Garcia’s efforts was that Glencore achieved the distinction of being the first foreign company allowed to own, operate, and manage a Chinese steel mill. This assisted Glencore not only by improving their standing in the ferrous sector, but also through helping boost their presence in non-ferrous departments as well.
Those familiar with Chinese culture, history and society know that gaining the trust of the Chinese government was not something that came by chance, nor was such trust casually handed out.
Solid credentials, a noteworthy performance record and an evident appreciation and respect for the cultural norms and business standards of the host country are vital for such governmental trust to be gained. David Garcia possessed these qualities, along with a passion to contribute to the socio-economic growth of China.
By then, he had already nurtured in himself a strong affiliation for the Chinese people, their society and their culture. This spurred David Garica later on, to take an active role in supporting Hong Kong charities .
David’s wealth of experience in business has enabled him to have a visionary perspective regarding the market. In 1998, he predicted in a paper presented at a Metal Bulletin Conference in Shanghai that China would burst onto the resource market within 3 years and that the demand for iron ore and other steel related resources would overcome the market.
At that time, he urged Glencore to purchase some iron ore properties which he had identified in Western Australia. Glencore declined to look into the opportunity.
David then gathered some of his friends and purchased the mines. Eventually, in 2004, he was able to negotiate a profitable sale of the plant back to a state-owned company.
He then resigned from Glencore and formed Asia Iron which commenced development and a bankable feasibility study on getting the mines up and operating. At the same time, he managed to get a license from the Nanjing/Chinese government to build an iron pellet plant at Longtan port in Nanjing to produce 5 million tons of iron pellets per annum.
A Chinese company has since purchased Asia Iron.
Coal in the Philippines
David Garcia’s business interests have expanded to another country in Asia. He set up an energy company, Merton Group, which has purchased coal mining interests in Cebu in the Philippines, to meet the growing demand for power and coal in the region.
The Merton Group has also formed a 50:50 joint venture with another mining company nearby to mine, manage and operated their nearby coal mine.
David is also the chairman of SERI (SKI Energy Resources Inc.)., a joint venture company in the Philippines that intends to purchase other mines in the area to develop the market further.
The future looks very promising, considering that the Philippines currently imports 12.3 million tons of coal per annum. To help ensure a brighter future all the more, David sees to it that sustainable development practices are applied in the companies that he runs. Good corporate citizenship is a key characteristic promoted in both the Merton Group and SERI.
David Garcia Hong Kong Charities
Aside from his business interests, David Garcia also devotes time to charitable pursuits, primarily in Hong Kong.
David Garcia is the Founding Chairman of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong Charity Fund.